Life can be unpredictable. No matter how much you plan, things still happen that you can’t control, which makes charities like the St. Christopher Truckers Relief Fund (SCF) so important. For independent owner-operator Howard Salmon and his four year old son, Liam, SCF has been essential in helping them get through one of the most difficult and unexpected times of their lives.
In early January, Howard and his wife noticed Liam was having trouble walking and using his left arm, so they took him to the emergency room. Within an hour, Liam was life-flighted down to Sacramento where they discovered he had an aggressive, inoperable brain tumor known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). After being encouraged by fellow drivers to reach out to SCF for help, Howard connected with the Fund and they offered their support.
“Think of your child, your family,” Howard said. “What if all of a sudden some tragedy happened and you had the choice of either losing your truck, house and everything you have, or lose your family?”
Because of SCF, Howard was able to come off the road to be with Liam and not risk losing his truck and home. Despite the debilitating effects of this aggressive cancer, Liam is an absolute fighter. After 30 radiation treatments, countless blood draws and chemotherapy, he’s still a happy, sweet boy who smiles through the tears and loves to play with LEGOs, tractors and trucks, his dad says.
“He is an everyday blessing in my life,” Howard said. “Being with him when I got home from the road was like father’s day all over again.”
While Howard has spent his whole career giving back to these charities whenever he had the chance, he never thought he would need the assistance himself.
“Drivers always help, we always give,” Howard said. “We love doing stuff for charity, whether it’s SCF, the Children’s Miracle Network or the World’s Largest Truck Convoy for the Special Olympics. It’s always a no brainer. A few cents, a few dollars, help the kids out. But I never expected that bucket to be turned toward us to help us out.”
Howard expressed his utmost gratitude for other truckers out there who support charities like SCF.
“Thank you for your support from a fellow truck driver,” he said. “Whether you know it or not, those few pennies have nearly saved our life. It’s nice to know there are other drivers out there who don’t care about donating their last few cents. It’s always been a pay it forward. I thank everybody for their support.”
Stories like Howard and Liam’s are the reason why TA is proud to be the largest supporter of SCF for over a decade. Since 2007, SCF has helped over 3,000 truckers and their families and has provided over $3.3 million dollars on behalf of drivers in need.
This year, we’re asking you to be a champion of change for fellow American truckers and the men and women who keep our country moving. All you have to do is round up your purchase at a TA, Petro or TA Express to the nearest dollar and 100 percent of your donation will go to SCF.
*For each transaction at a participating retail location where a customer authorizes rounding up their final total to the next whole dollar, TA will donate the amount which was rounded up to the St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund. St. Christopher Truckers Development and Relief Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that works to provide financial assistance for over-the-road/regional semi-truck drivers and their families when an illness or injury has recently caused them to be out of work. Promotion is not applicable in Alaska, Hawaii, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, South Carolina, or Vermont.