Cars for Kids car show raises funds for Cape children with disabilities

Sunday, August 17, 2008
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Joe Crader of Delta, Mo., looked over a 1959 Corvette convertible, owned by Brad Kasten, at the Cars for Kids car show Saturday at Arena Park.
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Joe Crader of Delta, Mo., looked over a 1959 Corvette convertible, owned by Brad Kasten, at the Cars for Kids car show Saturday at Arena Park.

More than a $1 million worth of cars, trucks and motorcycles were on display at Arena Park on Saturday as part of the second annual fundraiser for the not-for-profit organization Cars for Kids. The event allows car aficionados to talk about what they have under their car hoods and gives them the opportunity to help raise money for children with disabilities.

Charlie Jackson got involved with the organization in 1999. He owns a 2006 American Chopper motorcycle that he won on the TV show "American Choppers," he said. When he goes to events with the organization, he brings the motorcycle and lets children sit on it.

"If you help just one child," he said, "then it's worth it."

Jackson's proud of the financial donations Cars for Kids has made to families in the past. In March 2007, the organization donated $12,500 to a family whose child was paralyzed from the neck down in an accident. Jackson said this money helped pay for the $14,000 of medical work and transportation costs in flying the child to Costa Rica for an operation.

Jackson said the operation was successful, and now the patient can swim and walk with the help of a walker.

The organization receives donations by visiting 10 to 12 cities in nine southern and Midwestern states each year and hosting a car show. People involved with the organization and city residents provide automobiles from the 1920s to the present in order to attract a crowd, said Larry Price, who started Cars for Kids 19 years ago. The organization receives money through advertising, car registration fees, T-shirt and food sales and personal donations.

Rick Farmer, the Cape Girardeau coordinator for Cars for Kids, said money raised in Cape Girardeau stays in the city. He said money raised at the event will probably be donated to the Missouri Baptist Children's Home, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the two children of Cape Girardeau resident Jessica Cato, who died in a car accident.

Price said he isn't sure how much money the organization will raise in Cape.

Price said he began the organization after his 12-year-old son, Chad, recovered from a bicycle wreck that had put him in a 12-hour coma.

"I made a promise to the Lord that I'd do something for kids if he healed my boy," Price said.

Farmer heard about the organization after Harrisburg, Ill., organizer Gene Church spotted Farmer's 1953 Ford panel truck at a car show in Harrisburg. Church said he had just finished rebuilding three panel trucks.

"We started talking, and I thought he was a nice guy," Church said. "So, I told him about Cars for Kids."

Jerry Hall, the spokesman for the organization, said a book called "The Promise" is being written about the organization; it is about the promise Price made to God.

Hall said the organization would like to put on more shows each year but they're strapped for cash. He said he hopes the children of the organization's current leaders can keep the car show alive after they die.

"We want to look out for future generations," Hall said.

adohogne@semissourian.com

335-6611

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