Whether they drove in support of a loved one, in memory of a friend or to recognize their own battle with breast cancer, 91 drivers joined together at TravelCenters of America in Woodstock, Ontario to participate in Trucking for a Cure’s Woodstock Convoy.
This year's convoy, which took place on Sept. 23, has been pulling out of TA in Woodstock since the first ever event in 2014. Every year, it includes live music, kids’ activities, a silent auction and 50/50 raffle, BBQ food and the 12 Gauge Pink Ribbon Show N Shine with awards for the largest fleet and best pinked out truck, person and puppy.
“Each year, The TA staff is so awesome and supportive in their dedication towards making this event run smoothly and successful,” said event organizer and professional truck driver Joanne MacKenzie. “We could not do it without Brenda and her fantastic team!”
MacKenzie first got the idea to host a convoy from a similar event she attended in Quebec in 2007, promoting female drivers to raise money for a cause.
MacKenzie herself is a breast cancer survivor, and the convoy was a way for her to recognize her aunt Anna, who also had breast cancer in her 40s and ultimately passed away from cancer when she was 74-years-old.
“Anna was like a second mother to me growing up and was a very strong woman who taught me so much. Everything I knew about breast cancer I learned from her, she was there for me through my breast cancer and I truly believe what I learned and the importance of early detection and self-examinations is why I caught mine so early,” said MacKenzie. “After Anna passed away I wanted to always do something special to honor her and keep her close to my heart. I thought why not use my two passions, trucking and raising awareness about breast cancer! So we started the Trucking for a Cure convoy dedicated to raising awareness and funds towards breast cancer research.”
This year, the top 10 drivers in the Woodstock Convoy alone raised $51,000 alone and total funds raised are currently just over $100,000.
At the 2017 Woodstock Convoy Hayley Mackay, a driver for Luckhart Transport, set a new record raising over $13,000 earning the number one spot leading the way for the convoy. Stephanie Stchroeder won second place. She drove in support of her father who won his battle with breast cancer.
Barb Taylor, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, came in third highest in pledges. According to MacKenzie, she’s been part of Trucking for a Cure since the beginning and she brought seven fellow drivers from Hyndman Transport to join her in the Woodstock Convoy.
And this year’s largest fleet was Last Wagon International.
“Part owner Frank Schmitt arranged for their whole fleet of 14 trucks to take part in the convoy,” said MacKenzie. “Imagine all 14 of their trucks off the road for the cause!”
As for Trucking with a Cure, the organization who hosts the Woodstock Convoy and multiple other convoys throughout the year, they have raised $600,000 in their eight years in existence. All funds raised go directly to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation via direct donations by event sponsors or sponsor forms by drivers.
With the help of MacKenzie’s employer Highland Transportation and her coworker and friend Laura Horner, Trucking for a Cure also attends various events and shows to further promote their convoys.
“There are so many wonderful moments and memories of our event everyone has a special story or reason why they take part each year,” said MacKenzie. “Our drivers are the heart and soul of this event just watching them and their families decorating and pinking out the trucks each year is so inspirational and touching.”
Photos courtesy of Dan "Dusty" Porter