Get Out And Drive To Benefit Parkinson’s

Sometimes the saddest moments in life are cause for the greatest inspirations. For Deb Pollack, a Los Angeles-based Public Relations executive, who’s clients include Singer, the Porsche supercar builder, faced just that.

Her mother suffered from the debilitating and incurable disease, Parkinson’s. Deb was deeply affected as she watched her mother slip away — and could do nothing but try to ensure her comfort.

When the struggle gave way to her mother’s passing, in her grief, Pollack vowed to dedicate her expertise in the automotive field, and the strong relationships she built in the industry to fight the disease. She hoped to save others from the torment and heartbreak it had brought her. She founded Drive Toward a Cure

Onlookers gaze at a Jaguar XKE at a Drive for a Cure event in Atlanta, GA.

Drive Toward a Cure raises funds and awareness for Parkinson’s Disease research and patient care. Fully knowing the camaraderie found within the automotive culture, the organization’s mission benefits equally from both enthusiast communities and industry professionals.  

Now in its fourth year, the Drive Toward a Cure’s 75 Days of Summer presents an opportunity for all enthusiasts in car culture to get out and do what they enjoy most – drive! The national fundraising endeavor begins on Father’s Day (June 18th) and lasts through Labor Day weekend.

Drive Toward a Cure events harness enthusiasm for cars and driving and turn that power into support for ongoing work to improve the lives of those living with Parkinson’s, as well as the research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure. Since 2016, Drive Toward a Cure has raised more than $1 million dollars to support both research and patient care.

Cars and enthusiasts from across the car culture participate in Drive for a Cure Events.

75 Days of Summer provides multiple chances to win prizes, see roads less traveled, enjoy friends and colleagues, and explore the freedom to simply drive – and all while supporting Parkinson’s Disease patient care and research.

This is done in the same vein as March of Dimes walks. The major difference is the miles are driven in your favorite cars. Each participant sets up a supplied webpage at sign-up and shares their adventures on social media. The cost to get involved is $20. All participants are eligible for the grand prizes, regardless of the mileage. Ten drawings per week, during the course of the event, award prizes.

With significant sponsorship by Hagerty Drivers Club, 75 Days of Summer program began as a means for individuals to escape from isolation during the summer of 2020, but has become an annual competition that to date has raised nearly $100,000 for Parkinson’s disease.

It doesn’t matter what your favorite car may be, the goal is to get out and drive

Deb Pollack, founder of Drive Toward a Cure, said, “each year the enthusiasm and participation has grown, originally from only individuals to now include clubs and groups, and this year, an additional separate competition was created to include university Formula SAE team members.”

Pollock continues, “Our original success stemmed from reaching out to car clubs nationwide and through social media channels,” said Pollack. “This year, we additionally have aligned with 20 university Formula SAE teams that originally signed on to provide awareness through their race vehicles – and now the students are coming forth to create larger fundraising efforts.”

Car shows, rallies, and camaraderie come together to benefit Parkinson’s care and research.

Sponsors such as Michelin and Shell/Pennzoil have participated since the program’s inception, bolstering Grand Prize offerings, as well as long-standing contributions to the foundation since Drive Toward a Cure’s initial driving events in 2017.  This year, additional Grand Prize sponsors for the 75 Day driving program include Radford Racing School, NCM Motorsports Park, Xtreme Xperience, GrandPrix Originals USA, and Katzkin Leather.

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About the author

Tom Stahler

At eight months of age, Tom Stahler sat in a baby stroller in Thunder Valley and watched Chuck Parsons and Skip Scott win the 1968 Road America 500. He has had the car bug ever since. He has won several awards, including the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor Award and the International Motor Press Association's Gold Medal for his writing and photography. When not chasing the next story, Tom drives in vintage road racing events.
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