A motorcade of Corvettes recently made its way slowly down the interstate from Illinois to Tennessee.
The hours racked up behind the wheel of the cars, however, were nothing compared to the emotions of their drivers and the joy of the children once they reached St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
The Corvette owners were participating in the first-ever St. Jude Corvette Drive in early May and wound up raising $50,000 for the hospital.
A police escort accompanied the cars to St. Jude on a Thursday, and the next day, 17 of the 34-plus Corvettes were chosen to parade to the hospital, where the drivers parked in a circle outside, then went inside to tour the facility. They came away very impressed with the work being done there.
Afterwards, the young patients at the hospital were encouraged to head outside and climb inside the beautiful sports cars, blow the horns, and ask a lot of questions.
“Those kids had a blast. The rags that were first being used on the cars were also being used to wipe up the tears of the drivers after the kids showed up!” said Angie Wiebler, events manager for St. Jude.
Participant Amber Koppen noted the great attitude at St. Jude. “There was an overall sense of joy, no matter who you came upon at St. Jude,” she said. “The aura of the people there, works or the patients who were getting treatment, everyone had a positive outlook and positive vibe.”
The ride was sponsored by Uftring Chevrolet in Washington, Illinois, and members of Mid-West Corvette Club in Milan, Illinois also participated.
Driver Dennis Waddell of Rock Island, Illinois said he hopes to see even more Corvettes involved in the fundraiser next year. He participated in his crystal red 2011 Grand Sport Coupe, bringing Bill Firth with him. Firth’s grandson battled and beat cancer as a youngster, part of his reason to be involved in the Corvette Drive.
Proceeds totaled some $50,000 for St. Jude. Each Corvette owner was asked to raise at least $1,500 for the event.
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