Car community rallying to fight Parkinson’s disease

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Classics and exotics are welcome to join the Drive Toward A Cure tour | Drive Toward A Cure photos
Classics and exotics are welcome to join the Drive Toward A Cure tour | Drive Toward A Cure photos

Drive Toward a Cure is the name of a non-profit rally alternative aiming to combine cars and camaraderie for weekend driving events while raising money to fight Parkinson’s disease. The first events are scheduled for the April 28-30, 2017, weekend in California, and drives in Europe and the southeastern U.S. already are in the works.

Tour routes include great roads, private collections, track time
Tour routes include great roads, private collections, track time

“This isn’t about a one-time event,” founder Deb Pollack said in a news release.  “We have an ability to start a movement which has been ripe to stand behind a cause that has challenged so many, including automotive legends whose personal careers have enhanced the world’s passion for cars — American racing legends like Phil Hill, Sam Posey and David Love — all of whom have faced the challenge of Parkinson’s.”

Pollack, whose mother was claimed by Parkinson’s in 2006, is a long-time automotive public relations specialist who helps organize the annual Tour d’Elegance and Thrill Ride staged in conjunction with the Danville concours d’elegance in northern California. The Danville concours also raises money to fight Parkinson’s.

“We’re looking to expand community involvement in support of Parkinson’s throughout our entire automotive family — and that includes everyone from car aficionados and collectors to motorcyclists and ‘Sunday drivers’,” she added.

“Nearly everyone you meet unfortunately seems to have a tie to this debilitating disease.  We can only hope that one small movement can touch others — and together we can drive toward a cure.”

Pollack is working with long-time rally organizer Nigel Evans of RallyRace to create the weekend driving agendas.

The inaugural California Adventure event will have two starting points — the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and the Blackhawk Collection in the San Francisco Bay area. The groups will drive back roads, visiting private collections, experiencing “special stage” driving competitions, and meeting in the Paso Robles wine region for additional activities.

Registration has opened through the Drive Toward a Cure website. The $3,500 per car entry fee includes a $500 contribution to fight Parkinson’s through the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson’s Institute. The website also can be used to make various monetary contributions to those foundations.

Also being planned for 2017 in an Alpine Adventure in Austria in July and the Great Southern Adventure — including the Smoky Mountains, Blue Ridge Parkway, Cherohala Skyway and Tail of the Dragon — for the fall.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.