Deb Pollack spent her career in the automotive industry but her fascination with cars spans her entire life. Now, the Team Fox member has woven her passion and her longstanding industry friendships into a unique way to honor her mother, who lived with Parkinson's disease (PD) until 2006.
In 2017, Deb founded Drive Toward a Cure, a nonprofit that hosts multi-day driving tours to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson's research and patient care. The rallies bring together luxury cars and car lovers for a weekend of exceptional driving experiences, new and old friendships and stunning scenery. They've also raised more than $50,000 for Parkinson's patients and families, including donating $10,000 to fuel MJFF's efforts to speed a cure.
"These events combine amazing cars and a great camaraderie," says Deb. "People are passionate about cars and the story of their cars. I love bringing that together with awareness for Parkinson's."
Deb has been using cars as a PD fundraising tool since 2008. She sold hot laps in the car driven by beloved Formula One driver and person with Parkinson's, Phil Hill. She followed this up with "Thrill Rides" up the California coast in conjunction with another Team Fox event, the Danville Concours Gala. Her decision to make the leap to a multi-day fundraiser came when she got a call from Dick Cupp, a prior vintage racer who also has PD. He was interested not only in engaging his friends in the racing community, but also in furthering the conversation around PD. "When I got that call, I knew I couldn't fail," says Deb.
Last April's inaugural Drive Toward a Cure event, the "California Adventure," featured 36 vintage, luxury and other notable cars, hosted over 70 drivers, and covered 600 miles of coastline between Northern California and Los Angeles.
The second rally, the "Great Southern Adventure," wound through the Blue Ridge and Smokey Mountains and along a daunting 11-mile trail with 318 curves.
In 2018, the one-of-a-kind adventures continue in California and the Northeast with behind-the scenes auto museum tours and private collection viewings.
Throughout the course of her fundraising, Deb has been "enlightened" by the many ways that people in the car community, including several famous racecar drivers, have somehow been touched by Parkinson's. "It's made me feel like we could really succeed."
You too can turn your passion into a successful fundraising event with Team Fox. Register and get started today!
Laura Amann is an award-winning freelance writer who contributes personal stories about living with Parkinson's to the MJFF blog.