On August 9, visitors to the Haggen Food and Pharmacy parking lot in Tualatin, Oregon will be treated to a fantastic show of hot rods, convertibles, classic cars, lowriders and motorcycles. The Sizzling Summer Car & Hot Rod Show benefits Oregon’s Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Karen Koch, who owns a ’65 Mustang, is also a volunteer for the Foundation. Six years ago she decided that organizing the car show would be a perfect way for her to increase donations.
Koch’s involvement with Make-A-Wish of Oregon began after her early retirement from dental assisting due to health problems. Rather than stay at home, she decided to spend her time as a Make-A-Wish volunteer. As a lead wish granter, she meets families and helps with every step of the wish approval and granting process, from paperwork to trips to the airport and home again.
When it comes to the annual car show, Koch does it all and receives no compensation or reimbursements, including promotions for the shows and buying gifts when donations run short. She personally ensures that Oregon’s Make-A-Wish gets 100% of the proceeds.
The financial goal of the car show each year is $5,000, which is the usual amount allotted to fulfill one wish. The total raised so far for the shows is $19,683.98.
Visitors to the car shows are treated to a delicious breakfast and barbecue lunch at no charge, but donations are encouraged. There is a registration fee for show car owners of $20, and this includes tickets for prize drawings during the day.
All visitors to the show may vote on their favorite hot rods and other vehicles to determine first and second place winners of the show. There is also a silent auction for various items like get away packages, dinners out and rounds of golf.
Karen is one of many dedicated Make-A-Wish Foundation volunteers who number around 25,000 nationwide. As the result of generous giving and the activities of selfless volunteers like Karen, the foundation is able to grant a wish, on average, once every 40 minutes.
Wishes are granted to children with life-threatening illnesses who often choose to go somewhere, meet a personal hero or idol, or have something special that they’ve always dreamed of. Disneyland and Walt Disney World are popular destinations. Among the wishes granted this past June was the simple request made by a 13-year-old identified as Gunner from Tillamook. Gunner’s wish was simply to meet his bone marrow donor. Wishes bring immeasurable joy and hope to the lives of these children and dedicated volunteers like Karen Koch make it all possible.
Koch says, “I find it extremely rewarding to bring joy and hope to all these kids. Having a wish gives these kids something to look forward to.”
For additional information on the August 9 charity auto show or to make a tax deductible donation, please visit the Make-A-Wish Foundation website.