I could write for hours about this event and all of the good people involved, or how a small blue collar town pulled together to make a difference in this young mans life, but sometimes life can’t be put into words…only feelings..feelings that even at one point brought tears to my eyes!
I was hoping to write about this right after the event but because I took so much time away (3 weeks to be exact) to attend this event I have been working 7 days a week to catch up.
A few weeks ago I was on the other side of the US in a small blue collar area in Pennsylvania called Kutztown. There I got to meet Austin for the first time. Austin is a Car Warriors fan and contacted me about possibly donating a shirt or something small for the raffle at his annual event. I agreed to do at least that with the hopes to make an appearance if I could swing the travel arrangements.
I travel a fair amount and it wasn’t looking too promising when I planned my trip because my son is in college on the east coast and was turning 21 two weeks prior and it would have meant me staying on the east coast for 3 weeks straight. After emailing Austin back and forth a few times it seemed the answer was simple…stay for 3 weeks and do whatever I could to help Austin with his event.
Even though Austin was in the midst of going to Chemo during this time frame he still dug deep in his heart to try and make a difference too…a difference in another child’s life by helping to find a cure. You see, he asked his mom to start this event a few years back in hopes that one day he could save a young child from having to go through the pain and agony that he has since age 10. You read that right, age 10 and having a 6# tumor! Austin is 17 now and still fighting for his life. Please take a few minutes after reading this post to learn more about Desmoid Tumors and pray you never meet someone that has to go through this.
I talked and wrote as much as I could about this event trying to bring awareness and get people involved. Austin’s family is truly amazing, from aunts, uncles, and cousins’ to friends and even co-workers of the family all pulled together to make this event the best yet. I decided to contact one of my winning teams from New Jersey, only a few hours away, to see if they could too make an appearance and bring the car they worked so hard to win with them and they agreed.
Austin’s mom works for the 2nd largest battery manufacturer in the US called East Penn Manufacturing and they too sponsored the event. East Penn was gracious enough to give me a complete 4hr tour of their facility that covers some 520+ acres and ALSO offered up accommodations on site in their farm house that was renovated for clients that visit. Delight Breidegam is the founder/owner of this amazing facility and from the time we arrived the sense of appreciation for attending was overwhelming. Everyone made us feel at home and shook our hands with a genuine smile. I didn’t get a chance to meet Delight until the day of the event but during the tour no matter who we came in contact with they had nothing but good things to say about him and his work ethic. The part that got me is how much we actually think alike, “do everything you can to take care of your employees and invest in them and they will invest in you” and Delight does exactly that, to all 6000+ of them! It amazes me why US companies focus on the instant gratification ($) and forget who actually does the hard work to make them successful, it’s good people with a good work ethic but this is a whole other write up so I’ll try and stay focused…lol
I am proud to say I was a part of this event and it was amazing, despite the possible thunderstorms that may have scared some car enthusiasts away in the morning, the skies opened up to a beautiful day. This year Austin raised over $18,000 for his charity…that’s awesome and congrats to Austin for stepping up and making a difference!
I know I mentioned it earlier but I have to say it again…the amount of amazing people that surround Austin is truly a blessing and I am glad to call them my friends 🙂
I would like to thank all of the people in my life ( I wish I could name all of you) that took time to donate through the website.I would also like to take another minute to acknowledge some great people I had the opportunity to meet and am blessed to call them friends. This would be the whole New Jersey Team from episode 10 (The Old Guys! lol) and my team from the Chevelle episode (Street Customs in North Carolina), you may remember Jim the team leader that fought to win the car for his 4yr old son at the time Bryson who was battling Leukemia . They actually helped spread the word through their organization FUEL and also had a very special gift sent for Austin’s mother. It’s people like this and all of you that bring hope to those in need, God Bless 😉