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Charities hit Truck World for a good cause

Joaanne MacKenzie olds up a T-shirt at the Trucking for a Cure booth at Truck World

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Maxine Shantz says all it took was one year of volunteering with the Special Olympics Convoy and she was hooked.

The Home Hardware employee took on tasks with the GTA branch of the project six years ago and has been more involved every year since. Including spending a day in the charity’s Truck World booth recruiting drivers, selling raffle tickets to raise money for the cause, and raising awareness.

Shantz says the booth at the biennial convention brings good exposure to the cause, forming a sense of community for drivers around the event and shines a light on the good things drivers do in a climate where they are often portrayed in the media as the bad guys after incidents on the road.

The booth was one of several charity booths at the show hoping to bring awareness to causes from cancer to the role trucks play in the work done by the Canadian Red Cross.

Trucks for Change used their Truck World booth as an opportunity to show case one of their partner charities – the Canadian Red Cross. The group was signing on new carrier partners who haul items for groups like the Red Cross free-of-charge, or at a reduced rate. The savings on shipping and transportation costs go a long way to helping charities do more, and helping the Red Cross reach Canadians in crisis said president Pete Dalmazzi.

The Prostate Canada Cancer Network (PCCN) was site for the three-day convention to promote their annual Cruisin’ for a Cure car show held each September in Brampton.

Volunteer with the group and cancer survivor Paul Henshall said the Fall show n’ shine featuring trucks and cars of all kinds is just a tool to get men to take a simple blood test to help diagnose prostate cancer early.

The event features a tent with nurses administering the pinprick test on site – and there is always a line. 371 men were tested at the 2017 car show. Henshall says PCCN volunteers direct men to the tent by suggesting that since they’re on site anyway, they may as well get it done.

That no pressure approach helps men who may otherwise be unsure about taking the test. Their presence at Truck World boasted the same kind of easy-going approach, offering men who have questions or need advice the chance to speak to survivors.

The PCCN booth says men can talk to “someone who’s been there,” offering the support only experience can bring. Every volunteer for the group is a member of the organization’s support group for those with prostate cancer.

Henshall says having the booth at shows like Truck World help those conversations to reduce the stigma surrounding prostate cancer. Often men are afraid to get tested because the cancer and its treatment can have side effects that feel emasculating. Speaking to survivors helps to overcome those fears.

The business of the show meant a lot of those long conversations at not only the PCCN booth, but others as well. Joanne MacKenzie of Trucking for a Cure said her Truck World booth was busier than she’s seen it in a lot of years.

The organizer of the breast cancer charity and owner of the famous pink truck was selling T-shirts to raise money and awareness for her cause.

“We call this the start of our pinky tour, when we get to come to Truck World or Expo(cam),” she said. “It gets us out there, it gets people remembering we’re here. Being able to come in here and the generosity we receive… is amazing.”

In addition to selling swag MacKenzie uses the weekend as a chance to reunite with drivers and remind them the convoy for the cure is coming in September.

When she got a moment to step away from her booth, MacKenzie says the best part of the show for her was seeing the new equipment on display.

“I was looking forward to seeing the new (Peterbilt) Ultraloft that came in, the 579, so I got the opportunity to see that where I probably wouldn’t get the opportunity.”

Known for T-shirts with cheeky sayings on them and glittery lanyards, Trucking for a Cure sold out of some of its more popular wares. All the proceeds go directly to the charity.

Charity-focused booths weren’t the only ones raising money for a good cause. With recent fundraising campaigns offered by groups like the Saskatchewan Trucking Association (STA) and Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) for the first responders of the Humboldt crash, Newcom Media’s Joe Gilonna announced a contribution to the cause of $5,000.

Raising more than $100,000 in its first week, the fund organized by Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) will help the first responders who may need psychological counselling following their involvement in the incident. Responder requiring the help will be eligible for up to $1,000 each for treatment.

Money will also be going to help fund WWC programming in the Saskatchewan area.

The firefighters and paramedics responding to incidents in small communities like the one in Saskatchewan are often trained volunteers. Without the same resources as full-time first responders, the Saskatchewan first responders have a budget if just $10,000 for psychological help says STA executive director Susan Ewart.

“There just is nothing for them,” she said. “They have a real, immediate need.”

The STA is working with the Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association until May 15 to raise money to help first responders where they need it.

Both funds are also working towards making sure the affected communities don’t feel alone as they grieve.

WWC executive director Scott Maxwell says he wants to make sure the first responders know Canadians are with them.

“Canadians deeply care about their health and wellbeing,” he said. “Wounded Warriors Canada is there for them just as they were there for those boys and that team.”

For those that missed the show and want to contribute to any of the charities listed, donations are accepted online for most, and the STA is accepting cheques made out to the Saskatchewan Volunteer Firefighters Association until May 15.

The post Charities hit Truck World for a good cause appeared first on Today's Trucking.

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