This Truck Show Helping to Find a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis
Truckers 4 Hope is connecting a Pennsylvania community around an important cause
Four days a week Jason Smith is hauling livestock across New York, Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan. The other three days? He and his wife, Prella, are on a mission to fund a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
The Smith's first son, Hayze, was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. Just a year later Prella launched The Great Strides walk, a fundraising event for the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Foundation. The walk was a success, bringing together families facing the same diagnosis, as well as raising awareness throughout Clinton County, Pennsylvania. After several years the CF Foundation took over running the walk, and Jason started looking for a new way to keep the fundraising going.
"I wanted to find a way to combine my livelihood with how I raise money for this cause," Jason said. "There are other people in our area that organize truck shows, but I had never participated." Now Truckers 4 Hope is planning their seventh annual truck show at the Clinton County Fairgrounds and each year they have donated over $10,000 in proceeds to the CF Foundation.
The first event started small with 42 trucks the first year. The third year Truckers 4 Hope hosted 115 trucks, and by the fourth year they ramped up to 300 trucks — a number that has remained steady. "It's not just about the truck show, though," Jason said. "It's a three-day event with camping, food and craft vendors, monster trucks . . . anything I can find with diesel!" Truckers 4 Hope also features family friendly events like a pedal pull, bull riding, live animals, and fireworks.
Jason isn't forgetting entertainment, either. Past performances included Aaron Tippin, Confederate Railroad, Little Texas, Tony Justice, Claudia Hoyser, East Coast Turnaround, Velvetta, Quarterstick, and Speed Bump Willy. This year, the event will feature musical entertainment from legendary country music artist, Tracy Byrd. And of course, a truck show of this scale has to kick off the night before with a truck convoy through the middle of town! "We've grown the event and the community looks forward to it. I think it has even outgrown our own county fair, so we love to create a little chaos in town to get everyone excited," Jason said. Some trucks have been coming to the event since the very start, along with repeat sponsors who love the feeling of a community party.
Along with those sponsors who help cover costs, money for the CF Foundation is raised through truck parking and camping fees, as well as ticket sales. The CF Foundation supports a wide range of innovative research programs to discover and develop new and effective CF therapies, including ground-breaking new drugs and genetic therapies. Local foundation chapters also help connect families who are learning about the diagnosis and possible treatments.
Of course, Jason and Prella couldn't do this on their own. Together with friends, family, and about 20 other volunteers, Truckers 4 Hope is a successful event, not just as a fundraiser, but as a way to bring together families across the area to learn about Cystic Fibrosis and strengthen the community. "When Hayes was born, none of us knew anything about it," Jason said. "We were told the life expectancy was only 30 years old. But with medication advancements, it is getting longer."
If you are interested in learning more about Truckers 4 Hope or attending the 2023 event this September, check out truckers4hope.com. You can also make a Valentine's Day donation directly to the CF Foundation in honor of Hayze at cff.org.
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