Life can be tough when you’re an adult with bills to pay and responsibilities to cater to. It can be even tougher when you’re a child suffering from a life-threatening illness or disease. No one understands this better than the good folks at Canada’s very own non-profit Starlight Children’s Foundation.
For over two decades now, Starlight has been helping sick kids and their families find joy and happiness despite the hardships they face on a daily basis in and out of hospitals and the like.
When Brian Bringolf, CEO at the Starlight Children’s Foundation, said he’d help out for a year or so at the foundation, he had no idea he’d still be with them 20 years later.
“We help thousands of kids a month,” Bringolf exclaimed, with satisfaction and pride in his voice. “We’re helping these kids do everything and anything from helicopter rides to snowmobiles and everything in between.”
That’s the beauty of the Starlight Foundation; they’re helping these Canadian children and their families experience places and things that not only enrich the child’s life, but also their spirits on the journey to recovery.
And what better way to lift spirits than take an exotic car around a racetrack at speed?
“One year, Larry Plotnick [Executive Chairman, The UPS Store] and I were discussing fundraising ideas and realized how bored we all were with golf tournaments…” explained Bringolf of how the idea for D4S was born.
“We both like cars,” reminisced Bringolf, “And we both had friends with hot cars and money to spare. So, we told them each to donate $1,000 and bring their cars round for a drive. And that was the start of [Drive 4 Smiles]!”
Only in its second year, D4S raised over $400,000 last year and they’re set to break that mark again this year in Montreal, with well over 100 cars lined up and ready to hit the track with a Starlight Foundation kid in each passenger seat.
iCar in Mirabel, Quebec, will host the event on Sunday, August 28th with fun for the entire family that includes plenty of food stations, face painting, activities, and of course hot laps on the track in cars ranging from 911s to McLaren, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and more!
“There are no limitations,” Bringolf was clear to explain. “Even if it takes 30 minutes to get a child from his/her wheelchair to the passenger seat, it doesn’t matter. This is for them all to enjoy.”
It’s not just the kids who enjoy it, either. Each car registered in the event is privately owned. These exotic supercar owners are taking time out of their lives to give these kids an experience of a lifetime, and they do it with huge smiles on their faces the entire time.
Hence the name: Drive 4 Smiles.
In fact, last year’s Quebec event was so successful (and this years is set to be too), that they’ve now expanded to Ontario and will be heading to Toronto later this September.
Click to find out more about the Starlight Children’s Foundation. If you wish to become a driver or sponsor a driver at the amazing D4S day planned in Montreal or upcoming Toronto event, visit their website here.