By Ryan Smith
It’s easy to recognize that pinker-than shade of pink that’s become a chosen color for breast cancer awareness worldwide: It’s on ribbons, T-shirts, bumper stickers — on everything, on purpose.
So Brian Bair of Bair’s Corvettes in Linesville; Dave Gray, owner of Smith Gray Buick GMC in Vernon Township; and some of their friends are guessing it’s going to be pretty hard to miss the ’84 Chevrolet Corvette they’ve been busy souping up (completely restoring, inside-and-out) in recent months. And they’re guessing it’s going to get more attention after it starts getting some signatures — thousands of signatures — all over it.
There’s already one on it: “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, a well-known classic car buff, recently gave the ’Vette his John Hancock, signing an air cleaner cover that project leaders sent from Bair’s Linesville shop to Leno’s Los Angeles studio.
Big name, bright color, bold car: That’s how Bair and Gray are rolling out PinkVette, the sportscar that’s been restored (and painted really, really pink) to raise funds for Meadville Medical Center’s Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute and to raise awareness of cancer in general.
Starting with its public debut at the institute on May 4, PinkVette will be “Cruisin’ for the Cure,” making stops at events around the region through next year and inviting everyone to sign their own name on the car for a donation.
The overall initial goal, Bair and Gray said, is to raise at least $20,000 through the “Crusin’” events and continuing community fundraising efforts. Plans are also in the works to publicly auction PinkVette to raise even more funds, sometime late next year following its run through the region, they said.
All money raised by the PinkVette’s efforts will be donated to the Institute to purchase and maintain a special vehicle to transport Institute patients (and their family members) from around the region who aren’t able to make it to the center for their appointments, they said.
Those patients come “not just from Crawford County, but from Erie, Venango, Mercer and Ashtabula counties” as well, said institute Director Valerie B. Waid. “And as state budgets continue to tighten, extra funds for transportation programs are dwindling.
As it stands, “the American Cancer Society does a great job of helping with pre-arranged rides. Unfortunately, we often see last-minute ride requests,” she added, along with patients who, for one reason or another, may drive themselves to treatment but not be able to drive themselves home safely.
For those reasons, “to have our own vehicle parked here at our center will be a wonderful asset to our program,” Waid said.
Being car guys, Bair and Gray thought so too.
“We just started coming up with ideas,” Bair said recently, and the PinkVette “came into our heads.
“It’s an off-the-wall project,” he added with a smile, but with the help of 100-plus local sponsors and volunteers, “it’s all coming together.”
You can go
“Cruisin’ for a Cure,” PinkVette will be toured around the region in coming months to be signed by supporters to raise funds to benefit patients of Meadville Medical Center’s Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute and to raise awareness of cancer in general.
Upcoming appearances include:
- May 4 — Debut of the PinkVette, Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute, Meadville
- May 19 — Bair’s seventh annual Corvette & Classic Car Cruise-In, Bair’s Corvettes, Linesville
- June 2 — Palmiero Toyota Scion Tent Sale, Palmiero Toyota Scion, Meadville
- June 8 — CruiseTown Erie 2012, downtown Erie
- June 10 — Port Meadville Airport annual Fly-In & Drive-In, Port Meadville Airport, Meadville
- June 11 — Beith Memorial Golf Tournament, Venango Valley Inn & Golf Course, Venango
- July 1 — Silver Shores Corn Roast, Silver Shores Restaurant, Conneaut Lake
- July 7 — Greenville Area Heritage Day, Majestic Bar & Grille, Greenville
- July 11 — Hospice of Crawford County Golf Outing, The Country Club, Meadville
- July 14 — Molded Fiber Glass Tray Co. Open House, Molded Fiber Glass Tray Company, Linesville
- July 15 — Greenwood Hubbard Chevrolet Show, Greenwood Hubbard Chevrolet, Hubbard, Ohio
- July 27 — CruiseTown Erie 2012, downtown Erie
- July 28 — Meadville Medical Center Family Day, Meadville Area Recreational Complex
- Aug. 4 — Thunder in the City, Meadville
- Aug. 12 — Susan G. Komen For The Cure Golf Outing, Whispering Pines Golf Course, Meadville
- Aug. 28 — Meadville Medical Center Golf Outing, The Country Club, Meadville
Visit pinkvette.net online to learn more about the car and future tour dates, and to see a full list of sponsors, signatures, how to donate and more. You can also learn more by calling Bair’s Corvettes at (800) 421-9644.