By Clarissa Kell-Holland
Many “Run for the Cure” events are held throughout Canada every year to raise money for breast cancer research, but OOIDA member Rachèle Champagne of Gatineau, Quebec, wanted to do something a little different to support the cause.
Champagne said she got the idea of organizing an all-female truck convoy in July while going down the road and talking to two of her girlfriends, also truckers. Hence, the idea for the first-ever Convoy for a Cure was born as a creative way for women to use their driving skills to raise money for breast cancer research.
In all, the 29-truck, 38-mile Convoy for a Cure raised $15,000 for breast cancer research in October. The convoy started at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ontario, and ended at the 730 Truck Stop in Cardinal, Ontario.
“This was just an awesome event. There was such amazing energy among these women drivers who participated,” Champagne said. “It was like they had known each other forever instead of just meeting that day.”
In addition to decorating their trucks with pink ribbons, Champagne said some of the drivers in the convoy also taped photos on the sides of their cabs as a way to honor women they knew who were breast cancer survivors or to pay tribute to those who had lost their battle with the disease.
Champagne said one of the day’s highlights was a speech given by featured guest speaker Anna Capobianco-Skipworth, who is a two-time cancer survivor. Capobianco-Skipworth teaches English as a second language and is a commissioner on the Riverside School Board in Montreal.
“You could hear a pin drop when Anna was speaking,” Champagne said. “She has overcome so much. And she still has this wonderful sense of humor and these amazing stories to tell.”
In preparation for next year’s convoy, Champagne said she plans to “delegate more” and form a committee. She planned nearly all of this year’s event from the cab of her truck. She even arranged for two fuel stops to donate a total of $1,500 in fuel to two prize winners.
Champagne has also set some goals for next year’s convoy as well. She said she hopes to double the number of trucks and triple the amount of money raised for breast cancer research.
“I learned a lot in planning this convoy that I can use in planning next year’s convoy,” she said. “Since this is the only female convoy I have ever heard of, I think we did great.” LL