Northlanders Set to Cruise for Cancer

Updated: 03/22/2014 6:29 PM
Created: 03/22/2014 6:18 PM
By: Travis Dill

A car show and cancer survivor convention took place at the DECC on Saturday, but what could the two have in common? A group of car enthusiasts Cruise for Cancer every fall to raise money for a local family fighting cancer.

The chrome shined on over 150 classic cars in the Peerless Motorhead Madness event on Saturday, and Rachel Netzel felt right at home beside them.

“I have a '61 Plymouth. It's in my blood. I grew up with this sort of thing,” Netzel said.

Netzel was recruiting other enthusiasts to raise money for the Cruise for Cancer that she and her father founded.

“There was a lot of people in the car community that had passed away from cancer and we thought why not pay homage to them,” Netzel said.

But cancer can impact anyone. Just down the hall at the DECC survivors were gathering at the Essentia Health Cancer Survivors Conference to help support each other.

Survivor Joan Jeanetta said cancer's biggest toll is emotional.

“I personally lost my dad to cancer so I knew, as a child of a person with cancer, how that felt. So I had to put myself I the shoes of my kids,” Jeanetta said.

She said she had great insurance so the financial burden wasn't a problem for her. However, lawyer Lindy Yokanovich helps cancer victims who need legal aid, and she said not everyone is lucky enough to have that safety net.

“Often times we have clients who are diagnosed in December. They need to meet an $11,000 deductible before the end of that year and then another one starts on January 1. As you can imagine that devastates most people financially very, very quickly,” Yokanovich said.

She said local fundraisers like the Cruise for Cancer can help. Over 100 drivers turned out to cruise the streets of Duluth last year, and they raised $6,000 for a local family.

“The family is free to use it however they please whether it be for groceries, gas money, a trip to Disneyland, medical bills it doesn't matter,” Netzel said.

Although the gifts are good intentioned, Yokanovich said they can sometimes hurt people getting government assistance in their battle against cancer.

“If they've qualified for some benefits and then all of a sudden they come into some additional funds that could jeopardize those benefits,” Yokanovich said.

She said it's best to check on that before accepting any money, but the motorheads were still revving up to help out with the Cruise for Cancer later this year.

The event is scheduled for Sept. 13, and anyone interested can call Rachel Netzel at 218-348-2724.

Anyone diagnosed with cancer and looking for legal help can find it here from the Cancer Legal Line.

The Peerless Motorhead Madness continues at the DECC on Sunday starting at 10 a.m.

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