Corvette owners love their cars.
But family comes first. Witness the inspirational story of Ben and Sandy Labaree of Alabama.
Thirteen years after Sandy passed away from cancer, Ben continues the legacy that the couple started in the late ’90s.
Ben and Sandy always enjoyed driving their 1963 Corvette convertible. When Sandy found out her breast cancer had spread in 1997, she didn’t just sit down. Instead, she and Ben went out and bought a more reliable 1997 Corvette to support their idea of Corvettes Conquer Cancer to raise money for the American Cancer Society (where she had been a longtime volunteer) and increase awareness.
The first year, they covered 35,000 miles and 32 states at Corvette shows across the nation in their Corvette.
Sandy eventually lost her battle to cancer in March of 2000, but Ben kept Corvettes Conquer Cancer going. In fact, he retired the ’97 in 2006 after racking up 195,000 miles in his travels to help the ACS, and the ’06 replacement already has 190,000 miles on the odometer.
“The support from the Corvette community and many others has been phenomenal over the years,” Ben says.
You may have run across the two Corvettes at shows across the country. If not, your next chance to see the ’06 is in Huntsville, Ala., where Ben is a member of the Vets with Vettes and Corvette Owners club. They’ll be hosting the 2013 Corvettes Conquer Cancer Car Show on Saturday, Oct. 26 from noon to 4 p.m. at Landers McLarty Chevrolet on University Drive in Huntsville.
The $25 tax-deductible registration fee goes to the Cancer Society.
In fact, “all the money we raise at this event goes solely to the American Cancer Society,” said Ken Ille, show co-chairman.
Attendees can vote for their favorite entries through monetary donations. Corvettes that collect the most donations win Participants’ Choice. Trophies will be awarded to one Corvette in each generation, and an overall trophy will go to the Corvette club with the most participation.
A goody bag is available for the first 100 entries. Door prizes, raffles, a silent auction, and a 50/50 drawing (the winner splits the proceeds with the ACS) will raise additional money, all going to the American Cancer Society.
The event raised $5,004 last year with 67 cars. “This year, we’re hoping to be bigger,” Ille says.
In case you can’t get to the National Corvette Museum before the holidays, representatives will be at the show to set up a tent with Corvette accessories for sale.
“Corvette owners don’t have to travel to the museum in Bowling Green,” said Ille. “They can come out here and do Christmas shopping early.”
A new 2014 Stingray will also be on hand for everyone to check out.
By the way, you can recognize Ben’s 2006 Corvette immediately since it’ll be surrounded by information from the American Cancer Society. It’s also covered with signatures from Corvette engineers and other supporters. In fact, for a $25 donation to the ACS, you could join the 120 others who have autographed the car.
You can also spot Ben’s car by the license plate, which reads DIDNTW8, a nod to Sandy’s legacy of cancer awareness and support.
“She was always positive, and an inspiration to everybody,” Ben says.