By nature, rat rodders don’t need to find a reason to hit the road and spend a day cruising in their “built to drive” machines, but for one tight-knit family of Mid-Western Rat Rodders, a reason found them. During the 2014-2015 Holiday Season three of them lost their fathers to various types of cancer and a fourth member of the group’s father was also diagnosed with cancer. The extremely close timing of these events seemed some sort of calling and inspired the group to start planning their areas first rat rod benefit cruise.
The inaugural “eRATicate Cancer Cruise” was held June 27th 2015 along the scenic St. Croix and Mississippi River Valleys that flow between the glacier carved central borders of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The convoy of just over fifty rides was primarily rat rods, but included a few shiners, motorcycles and even a couple daily drivers, all of them ready to take up the cause.
The crew definitely made a statement as they roared through town after town in the 176 mile day-long trek. As if the high octane rumble and site of so many rusty rat rods were not enough to turn heads, each vehicle was flying tribute flags customized with the names of loved ones that had been affected by cancer. The flags were offered to the general public, so anyone could honor their loved one whether they could attend the cruise or not, and then have the flag returned to them as keepsake. Orders came in from all across the country and Canada.
The tour had eight scheduled stops where the participants could gas up, socialize, get a bite to eat and win drawings for donated door prizes. It wouldn’t be a rat rod event without a few burn outs so a burnout contest was wiggled into the day.
The eRATicate Cancer Cruise along with its many sponsors and participants proudly accomplished its goals of honoring all those affected by cancer, raising awareness and a little money for cancer research-and a WHOLE lot of fun was had!
As much as all this meant to the group that planned the event, they were unaware it would so quickly take on a life of its own and what it would mean to others. The event was attended by many people who met up with the cruisers to cheer them on at the at the various stops along the route, including the widows and family members of those that originally inspired the event, the three fathers who had lost their battles to cancer and the father that was diagnosed who has recently completed radiation treatments.
One family came with three separate vehicles and cruised together in honor of their mother who lost her battle to cancer only a few weeks prior.
Another participant in the cruise had recently been diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer. It was clear that participating was physically painful and difficult for him. However, he stated with determination, “I had to be here. I had do this.” as if being on the cruise empowered him to fight back.
On their way to the cruise, a participant’s rat rod broke down and they had to turn around and get their daily driver. When they caught up with the cruise the four flags they had ordered to fly on their car were flown for them by other members of the cruise. Later they shared to the eRATicate Cancer Cruise’s Facebook page, “Thanks to those of you that flew our family’s flags at the cruise! It means a lot to all of us …How fitting to display Dad’s name on these rat rods- I’m sure he is smiling”!
It is for these reasons eRATicate Cancer Cruise will be back year after year and now in more areas. Expanding nationally allows many more people to share in the magic. See EVENTS in the menu for an eRATicate Cancer Cruise near you!
Who Are We
The eRATicate Cruise is a 501c3 public non profit charity based out of Stillwater, MN. Our board is not paid and are volunteering their time for this cause — eradicating cancer from the planet. All members have been impacted by cancer in some way; typically a loved one who they are memorializing or a family member still fighting and surviving.
We started out with very few people and very few goals. Four friends with an idea to try to make some sort if impact on this disease that had shaken their world back in 2015. We have grown in not only fundraising dollars and board members but in also the number of events. Several throughout the country with more and more wanting to join in the effort.
We went from no budget and all expenses paid through board member donations to multiple annual sponsors; media sponsors; in-kind donations for auction; and fundraising/merchandise proceeds exceeding $38,000.00 in 2018. Donations made to cancer patients and their families along with research and support organizations will top out over $30,000.00 for the 2018 fundraising year.
|2018 Fundraising & Donation Distribution|
|$22,140.00 – Cancer Patients/Families|
|$5,000.00 – Cancer Research|
|$3,500.00 – Cancer Support|
|$30,640.00 TOTAL DONATIONS – 2018|
|GOAL FOR 2020 IS $50,000.00|
Our job is to give the money we take in away and we are very mindful of making sure our operating expenses are at a minimum.
What’s next? Well that is up to you — our supporters. The organization will always continue to produce our annual spring event to raise money to fight Cancer. We designed the structure of the non-profit so that we could tackle any number of issues that need attention. Some ideas have been: Suicide, Mental Health, Lupus, Epilepsy, MS, Domestic Violence, ALS, Workplace Fatalities just to name a few.
Attend a cruise!! Help us build our fundraising goals! Volunteer! Eraticate Cruise is growing by leaps and bounds. The Cancer Cruise has been and always will be our primary focus but if there is a cause that is near and dear to your heart let us know about it! We would like assistance with producing more events for more issues. Help us out! Contact Us Today