Parade against cancer grows

Published 10:24 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The 18th annual Trucker’s Parade Against Cancer (TPAC) thrived Saturday afternoon with an all-time high number of trucks signed up and record total of honorary or memorial banners displayed on them.

The parade capped a day full of events that included lunch, a guest speaker, live and silent auctions, driver door prizes and a quilt drawing.

This Keystone Acres truck uses a banner and decals to help
highlight the theme of Saturday’s 18th annual Trucker’s Parade
Against Cancer in Charlotte County.

TPAC Co-Founder Sheila Jones described this year’s overall event as absolutely wonderful.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” she said. “We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was just wonderful.”

Jones noted the event is beneficial to others “because every bit of the dollars that we raise is going to cancer research, and that’s very important.”

She said that the amount of money raised this year has not been totaled yet, but she and fellow organizers know it will be more than $100,000.

That is not necessarily a record, but the final tally could be.

“I’m hoping by the time we finish, it’ll be a record, but it’s not there yet,” Jones said.

Key individuals being memorialized this year were Lealon Vassar and Daryl Bennett, both former TPAC team members who had died since last year’s parade.

Jones said a record total of 254 trucks signed up for this year’s parade, though not all of them showed. Additionally, a record 314 banners adorned the trucks that were part of the parade. Banners were either in memory of those who have died from cancer or in honor of those who are still surviving.

Trucks came from a diversity of locations.

“We’ve had them as far as Pennsylvania, but I think Broadnax, probably, or Charlottesville was the furthest, I guess, (this year),” Jones said.

Along with a variety of company trucks, fire and rescue agencies were also part of the parade.

“Some of them had fire chiefs that had passed away, so they were carrying their banner on their firetrucks,” Jones said.

Law enforcement was present for both practical and participatory purposes.

For the parade, “we need somebody at the front and somebody at the back,” she said. “And then our local sheriff’s department has a truck that’s all painted up for breast cancer awareness.”

The parade started at Randolph-Henry High School, “and then we turn on 47 and go to Drakes Branch, and then at Drakes we turn on 59 and go to Keysville, and then we turn on 40 and go through the main street of Keysville,” she said.

People lined the streets of Charlotte Court House, waving to the trucks as they went by.

Trucks began to proceed at 3:30 p.m., many of them blowing their horns to announce their presence.

Many volunteers were involved in making the Trucker’s Parade Against Cancer possible.

Jones said there were “probably 70, if I had to guess, maybe a few more, but I’d say at least 70. We don’t take time to count.”

It won’t be long before she and the TPAC team begin planning the 2019 edition of the event.