A FAST FUNDRAISER FROM THE HEART
Call it good Carma.
On Sunday, 75 families will have a day to escape the reality of living with a sick child. And it is sure to be a fast escape.
The inaugural Aidan’s Cup at Pitt Meadows Airport is the brainchild of family and friends of Aidan MacAulay, a young North Vancouver boy who lost his battle to cancer last September at age 14. The daylong event will provide Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada supporters and wish families the chance to get behind the wheel of a select number of supercars on a closed course at the YPK Integrated Training Centre. The morning session will be for donors — a minimum of $1,000 will get you strapped in — while the afternoon will be for the 75 families who raised their hands at the once-in-alifetime opportunity.
“Aidan would be so happy to know that his story might help Children’s Wish Foundation,” his father Don said earlier this week.
The foundation made Aidan’s wish of travelling to Costa Rica with his family come true in the summer of 2016, something Don says was no easy task.
“For all sorts of different reasons the trip had to be fast-tracked, and it was definitely out of Children’s Wish’s comfort zone, which is probably more like Hawaii or Disneyland,” he said. “But they realized it was important to us and important to Aidan, and they came through in a huge way for us in terms of all the logistics of getting there, clearing medications and all sorts of things. There was a ton of work put into it.”
So that’s how the MacAulays forged a relationship with the foundation. The second half of how Aidan’s Cup came together was inspired by the actions of family friend Remco Daal, whose son Nicholas was great pals with Aidan.
“When Aidan was sick Remco offered, as everyone did, anything they could do to help,” recalled Don.
“He has a really nice Porsche, so I said Aidan would love a ride in it.”
Remco said sure, but unbeknownst to the MacAulays reached out to Thom Boecker and Bryan Kohare of Scenic Rush, the Vancouver-based company that offers supercar rides up and down the Sea to Sky Highway.
“I would do anything for (Aidan), and I knew what the guys at Scenic Rush were doing and I thought I’d love to have a day to take Aidan somewhere and do something special that he would remember,” said Daal. “The Scenic Rush guys were amazing. I told them we need to do it on a day that Aidan is feeling up to it, we can’t do it with a whole bunch of other people because of the challenge of interrupting their days. And it will be last minute notice.”
And so it was as Daal called them on a Tuesday to set up the Thursday drive. Don MacAulay recalls the start of the day.
“Aidan never complained about being sick, but wasn’t really feeling well that day, but we got out there and got in the cars and it turned out to be just an amazing thing,” he said, then after a long pause, added, “Aidan was so happy and excited. It turned out to be just an amazing day.”
For Daal and the Scenic Rush guys it was also unforgettable.
“This kid just had chemotherapy and he’s out there waving his arms in the air,” said Daal. “What was also so amazing, and probably the most meaningful thing for me, was that how happy Aidan’s dad was.
“To see his dad’s face that day, for the few hours we had that day, totally separated him from the reality.
“For me that was a real ‘aha’ moment of where I want to spend my time and my energy. And for my son, it’s a lesson that out of tragedy can come something positive. And that you can think of something to do to remember someone’s legacy in the way they’d want to be remembered.” And so Aidan’s Cup was forged. “When we were trying to come up with ways to honour and remember Aidan, Remco and my brother Hugh really took the reins on this idea and went to Children’s Wish and put them together with the Scenic Rush guys and over a long period of time set up this day,” said Don. “Based on our family’s experience, and what an amazing day it was for Aidan, we’re really hoping it’s a great experience for some of these kids and their families who eventually might be in our situation, unfortunately.”
When Children’s Wish Foundation put out the call to families, the 75 spots filled up as fast as a supercar in top gear. And Bank of Montreal threw its support behind Aidan’s Cup as a sponsor.
“To be asked by a wish family to be a part of their child’s legacy is a powerful gift for us,” said Jennifer Petersen, provincial director of the foundation’s British Columbia & Yukon chapter. “Together, we will recreate the joy of a wish with these supercars and remember Aidan’s love of life.”
Another legacy from all this is the foundation’s growing relationship with Scenic Rush.
“It was a really humbling experience for us just to see how somebody going through such adversity, just to see how his face lit up when he had the opportunity to go into some of his dream cars,” said Scenic Rush’s Thom Boecker of the day Aidan got rides in a Ferrari and a Corvette. “That was our first involvement with Children’s Wish, and it really catapulted us into other things, like getaways for families and sick kids.”
And Aidan’s Cup, which will not only raise funds for Children’s Wish Foundation to be used to grant more wishes, but will give those 75 families a day to be remembered.
For Don, his wife Arlene, the MacAulay family and all their friends, that could be the greatest legacy of Aidan’s Cup.
“You realize after the fact just how important those memories are,” Don said.
To sign up for some seat time in a supercar at Aidan’s Cup this Sunday, visit childrenswish.ca/aidanscup
Aidan MacAulay, in the driver’s seat, rides with his buddy, Nicholas Daal, during the Scenic Rush supercar day trip last summer. The ride has sparked a special event on Sunday.
Scenic Rush’s Thom Boecker, left, and Bryan Kohare flank Remco Daal in front of one of the five supercars to be used during Aidan’s Cup on Sunday in Pitt Meadows.