Truck drivers granting wishes through convoy

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | 4/19/2016

Jen Hambleton knows what the Make-A-Wish Foundation can do for a child.

Hambleton, who operates Hambleton Transportation in Mechanicsburg, Pa., with her husband Cliff, possesses fond memories of how the foundation sent her younger sister to Disney World for a week.

(Photo courtesy of Jim Sweeney)

Almost 400 tractor-trailers gathered for the 2015 Mother’s Day Truck Convoy in Lancaster, Pa.

Her sister, Brittney Johnson, was about 5 years old at the time and was battling leukemia and spinal meningitis.

“Her outlook was often not favorable,” Hambleton said. “At one point, she was given a 40 percent chance to live.”

Luckily, her sister beat the odds. Now 27 years old, Brittney lives in Alabama and has been in remission for 22 years.

Hambleton said Brittney still talks about the trip to Disney World all these years later.

“Children should never have to deal with death,” Hambleton said. “It’s only natural to want that child to experience as many things as they can.”

Knowing her experience, it’s not surprising that Jen and Cliff, an OOIDA member, are now working to grant other children’s wishes.

The Hambletons will represent one of hundreds of tractor-trailers set to take part in the 27th annual Mother’s Day Truck Convoy, which will take place May 8 in Lancaster, Pa. The convoy raises awareness and funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, while giving the Wish kids a chance to ride in a big rig.

The Pennsylvania convoy started in 1990 after a Wish kid asked to ride in an 18-wheeler and speak to his sister on a CB radio. More than 40 trucks and drivers attended the inaugural event in order to make sure his wish was granted. Over the years, the event has grown to almost 400 trucks with more than 100 Wish kid passengers each year. About 5,000 people attend each year to see the trucks, participate in an auction, play games and eat local food.

Check out the convoy’s website to learn more about the event and how to become a sponsor or volunteer.

“There are a few charities that truly speak to me and matter to me, and this has to be in the top three,” Hambleton said. “I can’t stress how important it is for these kids to have something good and something completely unexpected.

“I can say as long as we have a truck, we will be in that convoy because it matters so much. I can’t think of a better way to spend Mother’s Day.”

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