Eighth Annual “Cruise for a Cause” Reflections
Submitted to FOCUS – With the completion of year 8 of Dan Neve’s Cruise for a Cause – its impact in making a difference and delivering hope wherever he goes continues…
When I started Cruise for a Cause after my mother and wife were both diagnosed within a month of each other at the beginning of 2010, I never would have imagined how it would change my life. Luckily for me, both my wife and mother are survivors, along with my mother-in-law – but the same cannot be said for two of my sister-in-laws. Karen Gates (Fait) and Sharon Mixdorf (Fait) both lost their battles to this disease.
It was late in 2009 that I began to look for a dream car for me to own. That car was a 2010 Shelby GT500. It was during my searching that the news of Linda’s cancer was found. I am not sure why, but something told me that I should use this new car to make a difference and let people know how important awareness and getting checked is along with raising some funds to support research for a cure.
Luck is one thing, but timing is everything. It was after I purchased my dream car that I was informed that if I traveled to Virginia to attend a Ford event at Virginia International Raceway, that Ford Performance would be willing to offer rides in their newest performance cars with a professional driver, and if I would manage getting the riders in and out of the cars, I could keep whatever funds we raised. Then Ford asked me to attend the EAA as part of the Shelby American display for the week of the annual fly-in at Oshkosh and by year’s end Ford had me travel to Las Vegas to be a part of their display at the annual SEMA convention (largest automotive show in the country).
That was year one and was the only year I thought that I would travel raising funds and awareness. My goal that first year was to raise $10,000 and somehow, we hit our goal. But after meeting so many influential individuals in the automotive industry I could not walk away. As I tell others – the snowball started down the hill. Every year I attend multiple national Ford car shows and other events, along with hosting a 3-day event the first weekend of October (to kick off breast cancer awareness month).
It was a few years back when I was at a show in Sturgis, SD that a man asked me why with, so many men impacted by prostate cancer no one was supporting that. It was then that the color scheme on our car changed – the ribbon flowing down the car went from just pink to pink and blue and we support research for both.
Up until 2014 we had been recognized for our efforts with a Humanitarian of the Year Award by the Daily Reporter – a Milwaukee based construction trade paper, I was honored to receive the Jefferson Award, and then Linda and I were surprised with the Marshfield Clinics Spirit of Giving Award. These are all very prestigious honors to have been recognized with. Then while attending the SEMA convention again with my car on display as part of the Ford Mustangs 50th anniversary I was informed that Ford realized how many miles I was putting on my Shelby and decided to give me a new Mustang!
I remember to this day that I did not sleep that night, as no one just gives you a new car and the fact that Ford believed in our mission meant so much. Then the very next day I was introduced to the president of Roush Performance and informed him of my good news that they said that they would pick up the car from Ford before I did to make it very special – and special it is!
Cruise for a Cause’s mission is to “Deliver Hope Wherever We Go” In the past 8 years, we have. I believe that we have been to 26 states and have traveled almost 100,000 miles – mostly on weekends during the summer attending automotive events and car shows all on my vacation time. This journey I am on would not and could not happen without the support of many individuals and companies.
You have heard about Ford, Roush, Shelby American, Continental Tires and many many other national companies. But those who are local mean just as much – Staab Construction who allows me not to only do what I do but greatly supports our cause. Roehl Transport, Partners (Heritage) Bank, Napa of Marshfield, Premier Printing, Mid Wisconsin Supply, Pepsico of Wisconsin Rapids, Feltz Tire, TLC “Truck Lettering Company” and Marshfield Clinic.
We raise funds each year by selling Cruise for a Cause shirts and raffle tickets and of course by accepting donations. This year has been another great year with $60,000 being donated and in the past 8 years, we have been able to give over $250,000. I started this journey with one goal – that one day people can look back and say – remember when there was cancer. Look for us in 2018 as we drive on.
-Dan Neve, Cruise for a Cause