The 17th Annual Truckers Parade Against Cancer Raises over $110,000

   Written by on October 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

By Susan Jones

The day began just before sunrise as volunteers started making their way towards Charlotte Court House for the 17th Annual Truckers Parade Against Cancer. With the sun peeping up over the horizon, the day was full of promise. Over 200 trucks were expected to begin arriving as early as 8:30 a.m. There was much to be done in those early morning hours. Finishing touches were being made at the auction tables, the T-shirt tables, and the driver sign-in tables. Children’s games were set up and crayons were in place for the coloring contest. Dozens of pies and desserts began arriving for lunch as the stew was cooking. Volunteers were posting signs and placing safety cones while the banners were being organized in what everyone hoped would be the most efficient manner. There was nervous energy as volunteers checked and double checked their lists of responsibilities. The first few trucks began to trickle onto the parade staging area and all that nervous energy turned into action. In short order, the TPAC volunteers were moving as a well-oiled engine of a new Freightliner.

Two hundred twenty-four trucks participated in Saturday’s parade carrying the names of 277 people whose lives have been forever changed by cancer. Drivers drove in memory or in honor of friends and family. Often drivers shared brief stories of the names being taped on the front of their vehicles. There is much joy, but there are tears as well. One driver lovingly shared he was driving in honor of his 91-year old grandmother who is a cancer survivor. Another driver stepped down from his truck and silently nodded his approval as he ran his hand over the name being taped onto the front bumper.

For the last 14 years I have viewed the parade from the driver’s seat. This year I decided to watch the parade in Charlotte Court House with my grandsons. We had painted posters to wave to the drivers and waited to hear the horns and sirens as the parade drew closer. As the boys squealed with delight and covered their ears, I felt the first tear roll down my cheek. The next truck rounded the corner and I was unprepared for the wave of emotion. There were so many names. No two were alike and the line seemed endless. From the driver’s seat, the emotions are totally different. We see the crowds cheering and waving. It is a victory ride. As a spectator, the enormity of this disease is overwhelming. It’s ugly and has no boundaries with race or age. The loud rumble of the trucks mirrored the disquiet within me. Upon reflection, I remembered that sun peeking over the horizon from earlier in the morning giving promise to our day and realized this parade does that too. Through all the horn blowing, flag waving, laughter and tears, the parade offers us a promise that our loved ones are not forgotten and together we can work for a brighter day for cancer patients.

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