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Truckers parade is Saturday

The 17th annual Trucker’s Parade Against Cancer (TPAC) will kick off Saturday at a new site with a new parade route for the year.

According to the organization representative Sheila Jones, Central Middle School in Charlotte Court House will serve as the central location for the event.

“Pick a spot and show your support for those who have battled cancer and for the truckers who have worked so hard to make a difference by donating so much time, energy and money for the cause,” officials said on the event’s website.

Jones said the new route will travel along Route 40 and turn on to Route 47 heading towards Drakes Branch. The parade will then turn left on Highway 59 toward Keysville and turn right on Highway 40, proceeding down King Street. The parade will end at Southside Virginia Community College in Keysville.

“We want the people on the streets to witness this,” Jones said.

According to the organization’s website, Sheila Dodd Jones participated in Relay for Life and other team fundraisers for several years before TPAC was born. She felt as though the normal fundraisers were not bringing in enough money for the cause.

“She began to brainstorm with her husband, Darrin, about other options and alternatives to the average fundraisers. The Jones family had several ties in the trucking occupation. Not only was Darrin a truck driver, but his family consisted of a trucking company’s co-owners, a truck salesman and a truck repair shop owner.”

The first TPAC debuted in 2000, according to the website.

Jones said last year’s event raised approximately $97,000 during the TPAC event and the organization raised about $100,000 throughout the year. 

She said the organization wanted to make sure the memory of those who have fought cancer is never forgotten and to let those who are currently fighting know they are not alone.

The website said the parade has also inspired other localities to follow suit, including Nelson County and Galax.

“Thanks for all the support over the years,” said Jones. She also thanked the truckers who participate for their support and dedication. She said without them, it wouldn’t be possible.

Donations can be sent to TPAC at 471 Nollie Road, Phenix, VA 23959. Checks should be made payable to the American Cancer Society.

For more information, call Mike at (434) 262-3014 or Sheila (434) 391-4026. The parade will kick off at 3:30 p.m. at Randolph-Henry/Central Middle School.