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Truckers News Senior Editor Todd Dills is the author of a novel, Sons of the Rapture, and blogs daily at www.overdriveonline.com/channel19. Write him at [email protected] or http://twitter.com/channel19todd.

The Survivors Among Us

Convoy for a Cure events get rolling this month

Rockwood, Tenn.-based owner-operator Michele White’s International ProStar, which is leased to Crete, was the lead truck in the Texas Convoy for a Cure for breast cancer event last year. She earned the lead spot by being the biggest single fund-raiser among participating haulers. It was an appropriate honor for a truck with such a distinctive design: though there have been many trucks built and painted to promote particular causes over the years, White’s ProStar, sporting such slogans as “Still alive by the grace of God and early detection” and “Been screened lately?”, is a rolling testament to the owner-operator’s personal experience.

“Breast cancer is an insidious and pervasive disease, and odds are that one in every eight women will have it in her lifetime,” White says. She is herself a survivor of five different cancers, beginning with Hodgkin’s Disease in the late 1970s, diagnosed shortly after the beginning of her truck-driving career in 1976. In 1981 the disease resurfaced, followed by breast cancer in 1999 and kidney and colon cancers in 2007, “a bad year for me,” she told convoy participants in her address at the 2009 event. In addition to the cancers, in April of that year, “I had a DOT Doctor shut me down for a heart murmur” that a cardiologist then told her was a result of her failing aortic valve. She needed a replacement, the doc said, or she “would be dead in six months.”

Michele White’s cancer-awareness-themed International ProStar

It’s refreshing to see people like White among the driver community, those who build on hard experience to help those following for better or worse along similar trajectories. Last year’s Texas Convoy for a Cure event raised more than $12,000. “Combined with the three Canadian convoys” — in Ontario, Alberta and New Brunswick, respectively — says Texas event organizer Cindy Stowe, “the total raised for breast cancer research and awareness was $94,000.”

At the end of this month and early next, the convoys roll again. Details follow.

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• Alberta: Sept. 25 in Nisku, www.albertaconvoyforacure.ca

• Ontario: Oct. 2 in Cornwall, www.convoyforacure.com

• New Brunswick: Oct. 9, Salisbury, www.convoyforacure-atlantic.com

• Texas: Oct. 16 in Terrell, donations and information at www.convoyforacureusa.com


On the road again In addition to the Texas Convoy for a Cure event’s actual convoy, the 2009 program featured a performance by an owner-operator you’ll be familiar with if you’re a regular reader here, independent Howard Salmon.

Independent owner-operator/singer-songwriter Howard Salmon

Incidentally, Salmon’s back in the states this month, after a near six-month sojourn out at his place in Hawaii, where he recovered from rotator cuff surgery and attended a tsunami-watching party after the February Chilean earthquake sent high seas out into the Pacific.

We caught up with him in Nashville in July. He was under a load of beer destined for Dallas and said he was glad to be back on the road. He’s also made some progress on his music, teaming up with the folks at Cashbox Records (cashboxrecords.com) to promote his These Trucks Are Made of Gold record, first released last year. Salmon says he’s hoping to make the Oct. 16 Texas convoy again this year.

In related news, One Bar Records singer-songwriter Terry Wooley has penned a tribute song for the Convoy for a Cure events in “There Is a Cure,” available for download for $0.99 at www.terrywooley.com. All proceeds will be donated to convoy organizers toward their goal of raising money to benefit breast cancer research and awareness efforts.