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Cruzin’ for Life Cars Rev Up the Fund Raising for Cancer Care Services

Amid record heat, dozens of classic cars roll along South Broadway in Santa Maria om 12th annual benefit for local charities

Classic cars cruised Broadway on Saturday for Cruzin’ for Life, an annual fundraiser for cancer care services in the Santa Maria Valley. Vehicles with yellow flags indicated the presence of a cancer survivor. Click to view larger
Classic cars cruised Broadway on Saturday for Cruzin’ for Life, an annual fundraiser for cancer care services in the Santa Maria Valley. Vehicles with yellow flags indicated the presence of a cancer survivor. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

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Car enthusiasts weren’t going to let a little heat muffle their motors as dozens of vehicles cruised South Broadway on Saturday afternoon for a key part of a Santa Maria fundraiser.

The 12th annual Cruzin’ for Life benefit took place Friday night and Saturday in an ongoing effort to raise funds for services that support people with cancer.

The toasty temperature — the thermometer reached a record-setting high of 97 degrees Saturday, according to the National Weather Service — meant that some of the classic cars with bigger motors might overheat.

After handing out multiple awards for the car show, Bob Labastida reminded drivers to keep moving once they hit Broadway because of the hot weather.

“Don’t start your cars any earlier than you need to because we don’t want any overheating,” he added.

For more than an hour, vehicles of varying ages, models and colors traveled along several blocks of Broadway, many carrying cancer survivors whose presence inside was indicated by yellow flags proudly waving from the windows.

The event included a car show at Santa Maria Fairpark, where awards were presented before vehicles streamed out for the cruise. A concert was a highlight Friday night and the event culminated with a dinner and auction Saturday.

Lompoc residents Jessica and Bijan Ghaemmaghami won a specialty car award for their restored and rare 1952 Willys Areo Ace. These vehicles are so rare that only two are currently available for sale in California. Theirs isn’t one of them.

This is the second year the couple has entered the car in Cruzin’ for Life.

“We support the cause, very much so,” Jessica Ghaemmaghami said.

The Cruzin’ for Life cruise even drew guests attending events at the historic Santa Maria Inn in the 800 block of South Broadway. Click to view larger
The Cruzin’ for Life cruise even drew guests attending events at the historic Santa Maria Inn in the 800 block of South Broadway. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

She said that her participation in Cruzin’ for Life is especially meaningful since she lost her classic-car-loving mom, Jeanie Preston of Encino, to cancer several years ago.

“It really hurts me to come because I wish that she was here here with us,” she added. “But she is with us. Unfortunately she wasn’t a survivor, but I still come because I know if she was here she would have wanted to come with us.”

Her mom owned two classic cars and passed along her love for them.

“It inspired me and my husband to buy one and restore one in memory of her, and to enjoy our lives,” she said.

They nearly didn’t make Saturday’s show after a fuel leak kept the car in the shop for more than two hours Saturday morning.

Last year, they cruised with a picture of her mom in the car. This year, they brought along Olaf and Elsa, characters from the movie Frozen, to bring smiles to spectators’ faces, she added.

Cruzin’ for Life started in 2004 as a way to raise money for cancer care services with events centered around aficionados’ love for cars.

The event has evolved and grown over the years, raising thousands of dollars along the way.

Funds raised go to Marian Cancer Care Services, the American Cancer Society and Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties.

The all-volunteer organization has donated more than $639,000 since its start.

Funds from Cruzin’ for Life helped pay for a van to transport patients to their treatments.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Genesis and Jacbo Castillo write their names on the Volkswagen chalkboard bus that pulled over periodically during the Cruzin’ for Life cruise. Click to view larger
Genesis and Jacbo Castillo write their names on the Volkswagen chalkboard bus that pulled over periodically during the Cruzin’ for Life cruise. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)
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