The Province - - DRIVING - An­drew McCredie DRIV­ING.CA

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 chil­­scup

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.

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