By Dan Rankin
A hot air balloon, a street sweeper and a crane are a few of the conveyances taking part for the first time in the fifth annual Evan’s Touch the Truck, featuring vehicles of all sizes and varieties, which comes to Milt Dunnell Field for its fifth instalment on Sept. 12 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Admission is by donation.
“I think it’s going to be our largest year yet for companies coming out,” said organizer Ashley Agar, cousin to Evan Leversage, for whom the event is named. “We have 48 companies confirmed and I’d say at least half of them are bringing multiple vehicles. We’re hoping to have way more on display than ever before.”
The ReMax hot air balloon will be giving rides for $2, weather permitting, Agar added. As the balloon has another engagement later in the day, it will only be on site until noon, she said, so those interested in checking it out or taking a ride should get there early.
“The neatest thing I find about this year is that companies are asking me to attend, whereas in previous years I’ve asked all the companies,” she said. “Now this thing is kind of getting a reputation as a big event and people are asking to be in it, which is a huge honour. We’re pretty pumped about the companies that are coming, and I’m still getting calls almost everyday with people that are still confirming.”
Some other vehicles to look out for will be a D-Lux stretch limousine, a livestock truck from McDonald Transport, a Brinks truck, Harmer Concrete Pumping pump trucks, trucks from Festival Hydro and McLean Taylor, as well as an “Art Car” for anyone to paint and decorate sponsored by Bickell Built Homes Ltd.
Agar said she suspects the new companies have heard about the event through word of mouth and on social media, where they’re able to promote the event as efficiently as possible, so that more money can go to ChildCan, a London charity helping local families dealing with Childhood Cancer.
“About half of the money is raised through raffles and draws, a barbecue, a 50-50 draw and things like that,” she said. “But the other half of it comes through the gate, which is really awesome. People are super generous.”
Last year, the event had its highest proceeds yet, of over $10,000 she said. That brought their four-year total to over $26,000 raised for ChildCan. “It’s pretty amazing for a one-day event,” she said. “This is helping local families with kids with cancer on a needs basis.”
Agar said that there was time earlier this year when Evan’s family thought he might not be able to take part in the event this year, which falls the day before his seventh birthday and right in the middle of childhood cancer awareness month. “Around February it was discovered that Evan’s tumour had changed, and was all of a sudden considered highly aggressive,” she said. “They weren’t really sure what was going to occur with Evan, and we were quite concerned that he wouldn’t be able to make it to this year’s event.”
After a gruelling treatment involving both chemotherapy and radiation, Evan had lost the majority of his mobility and was in a wheelchair, Agar said. “But, he’s done his treatments right now and we are thrilled that he has now regained his mobility,” she said. “He’s going to be there running around at the event just like all the other kids. It’s pretty amazing. We’re just blown away with him.”
Some of the prizes donated to raise money include a BMW Avigo 6-Volt child’s ride-on car, donated by Rhyzome Networks of Stratford, and a BMW Swag Bag containing items including a branded blanket and travel mug, donated by BMW London.
For information on how to get raffle tickets, volunteer or donate further prizes, contact Agar at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 519-284-0222. Search “Evan’s Touch the Truck – 5th Annual!” on Facebook to learn more.