FARMINGTON — Members of Western Maine Street Rods gathered Thursday to give $4,000 to the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing and $4,000 to Arbor House, both located in Lewiston.
Mary Dempsey accepted both gifts from club members Michael Pond and Andy Phillips in front of Bangor Savings Bank in the Mt. Blue Shopping Center.
The funds were two-thirds of the amount raised, after expenses, from the club’s second annual Motor Madness held in July at Farmington Fairgrounds, Pond said.
Representatives from several local sponsors of the event, including major sponsor Bangor Savings Bank, were present for the donation.
Both Pond and Dempsey thanked sponsors, acknowledging neither the Motor Madness nor the Dempsey Challenge could be held without sponsors.
The funds will be used to help cancer patients and their families, Dempsey said.
“No matter where you are from, the Dempsey Center is there for you,” she said. “We help everyone … patient, caregiver and family.”
Likewise, the Arbor House offers space for patients or families who stay near the center for treatment. It’s like a Ronald McDonald House, she said.
Along with cancer patients, family members of cardiac and trauma patients have a place to stay. These are both nonprofit and rely on donations, she said.
Bangor Savings has been a major sponsor of the Motor Madness both years because many employees have family and friends who have cancer, as do some of the customers, Heidi Elliott, assistant branch manager of both Farmington bank locations, said.
“It’s also a fun, family event,” she added.
Phillips and John Sauschuck were instrumental in starting the Motor Madness show two years ago, Pond said. Although Sauschuck had been diagnosed with cancer, he was able to attend the first one.
The two-day event this year was held in his memory.
Other members of the club have struggled with and are now fighting cancer. Some have stayed at the center or Arbor House, Pond said.
“We like to do something to help someone else,” Pond said.
The show drew a good turnout again this year. The event was expanded to include a demolition derby, truck pull, car show, monster trucks and more.
A third show, even bigger, is already planned for next year.
The Western Maine Street Rods formed in the early 1990s, Pond said. Approximately 50 members from around the area gather once a month in Rumford and on Wednesdays at Dutch Treat in Wilton during the summer.
Members own vehicles dating from 1972 and older. Some date back to the 1930s.
Member Yvan Lapointe of Peru brought his 1977 Ford pickup but has a Model A at home, he said.
He enjoys meeting people, seeing the different vehicles and taking rides such as the upcoming two-day foliage ride planned for later this month, he said.
“It is also a lot of fun,” Pete Davenport of Peru said, pointing to his 1969 Oldsmobile convertible.
Several members planned to leave the Mt. Blue Shopping Center’s Bangor Savings Bank to head for a Dirigo High School homecoming parade in Dixfield on Thursday evening, he said.