Last summer, a WTW couple from Ohio (Rob & Carla) came to help at our event in NC . They brought their boat and they also brought Carla’s Porsche and donated it to Wake the World. We were so excited! We talked about raffling it off or auctioning it off. At the time, Carla was having a headache,
When they got back to Ohio, Carla went to the doctor and discovered that she had stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to her brain. The prognosis was not good, less than a year to live. I had several tearful phone calls with Rob. I told him that we wanted to return the car. He said absolutely not. The car is where it needs to be. We are fine financially and this is what Carla wants.
Rob & Carla have 2 kids, Trevor & Presley. Trevor was working for a boat dealer in Tennessee; he came home to work with his dad so he could be close to his mom. Presley was supposed to start college but decided to wait a year to help with her mom. Press was having a hard time thinking about all the things that her mom was going to miss; graduating college, buying a wedding dress, getting married, having a baby. For Carla’s birthday, they spent the day wedding dress shopping, even though Presley was not engaged.
The family was hopeful that she would make it through Christmas.
We did not feel comfortable promoting the car with the family hurting. Our challenge has been, how do we best honor the family with this car?
I recently shared this story at the WSIA conference. Here is what I proposed to the roomful of Watersports Industry leaders.
“Here is what WE are going to do;
We are going to wrap the car like a racecar;
Auction off the top 3 sponsorship locations, tonight.
The side panel sponsor gets to select the graphics.
We will get professional photos made for use by any and all of the sponsors.
We are going to have the car on the floor at Surf Expo in Orlando.
The family will be there and are going to give the car away at Surf Expo (must be present to win).
Anyone with a badge can enter one time for free.
We will be selling extra chances to win at Surf Expo, the proceeds will benefit Wake the World and Brad Smeele.”
Centurion bid on & won the side panels. Roswell won the trunk and Kent Watersports won the hood.
On the early morning of February 18th, Carla drifted away to shine her light from heaven. Her family is honored that the manufacturer of the boat, that their family and especially Carla loved so much became the title sponsor on Carla’s Car. It was extra special that the family owned products from all of the major sponsors.