Meadville Tribune

October 18, 2013

Cancer-fighting PinkVette comes home


Meadville Tribune

VERNON TOWNSHIP — The PinkVette finally has a place to call home — the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute.

That news was announced on Friday by Meadville Medical Center, which now owns the vehicle. MMC received the PinkVette from the Meadville Medical Center Foundation, which won the car for $20,000 during an auction in September.

After a first-class restoration, an old beat up 1984 Chevrolet Corvette was progressively transformed into the PinkVette.

“This phenomenal car was never destined to sit in a showroom,” said restorer Brian Bair of Bair’s Corvettes of Linesville.

“We immediately knew this was far more important than a simple restoration,” said David Gray of Smith-Gray Buick GMC of Meadville, who with Bair led the PinkVette campaign.

Once the PinkVette was restored and painted pink as a tribute to the fight against breast cancer, Bair, Gray and others began driving it to community gatherings in all parts of Crawford County. Sponsors have chipped in with contributions and placed their logos on the car; and other donors were are part of the fun by paying fees to add their signatures onto the car.

Some 200 sponsors, 3,000 autographs and $70,000 later, enough money was raised to purchase a 2012 GMC Terrain in late 2012. The GMC Terrain has since been driven by volunteers, who transport patients to the Oncology Center for treatment before taking them back home.

In less than two years, the PinkVette campaign raised more than $129,000, shattering the initial goal of $30,000.

Even with these staggering numbers, the most impressive part of this story was certainly not the amount of money raised. The real value is in the people who stood behind the PinkVette. More than 80 volunteers committed more than 4,500 hours to raise cancer awareness.

That old 1984 Corvette has been lovingly transformed into far more than a car — an inspirational symbol that provides hope to the hundreds of patients who receive treatment at the Yolanda G. Barco Oncology Institute each year. More than 5,600 signatures blessed the PinkVette and within every signature lies a remarkable sense of hope. Each person who signed the car did so with full realization that they stand together in the fight against cancer.

With such phenomenal community support, Meadville Medical Center remained firmly committed to promoting the PinkVette and what it represents.

“The PinkVette means so much to our patients,” Meadville Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Philip Pandolph said, “and we intend to display it as an enduring symbol of hope.”

“Our patients and their families need both support and inspiration,” said Valerie Waid, MMC vice president of clinical operations. “The PinkVette is an extraordinary dose of hope from the thousands of people who signed it. We may have the PinkVette on display inside the Oncology Institute and we will continue showcasing the PinkVette for years to come as a reflection of gratitude for extraordinary community support.”