Driving MS Daisy – Rough Notes

Don’t read this blog.  It is here really to provide me with some notes on an idea.  Better yet, read the next Bog – Driving MS Daisy 2018.

Does anyone have a circa 1995 crew cab pick up truck in good working order that I can borrow for the weekend of June 9 and 10, 2018?  Even better, can I keep it, write on it with indelible markers and then auction it off for a good cause?  Read on for what I am thinking.

A Little Context Please

Canada has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the world, with an estimated 1 in 340 Canadians living with the disease. While it is most often diagnosed in young adults aged 15 to 40, younger children and older adults are also diagnosed with the disease (source, MS Society).  Each June the Alberta Chapter runs the Leduc to Camrose ride over two days and about 150km.  This ride fits neatly into two of my interests, public service and cycling.

For a few years I have had the ability to sit on a tail gate and cheer on the riders (see my reflections, MS Ride 2017).  The challenge is that I put 435km on my personal vehicle while transporting folks in a Ford Ranger with a five speed stick.

The WIN-WIN of Driving MS Daisy

I have no problem making this donation to the bike club and the society but it is not something I would want to do on a more permanent basis.  Beyond insurance anxiety, I believe a borrowed or donated truck can contribute much more to the MS Society, the ride and cycling; these benefits break into:

  1. Raising Funds/Awareness for MS.
    1. Improve contributions and donations to the ride.
    2. Use the vehicle as a mechanism to deliver education about MS.
  2. Promotion for the Truck Owner.
    1. Loan/give me a truck and I will make it worthy your while… through promotion, etc.
  3. Mitigating Costs/Risks for the Truck Owner.
    1. There are inherent costs and risks with loaning out a vehicle.  Registration, insurance, cost of the vehicle, and operating costs (e.g. gas).
    2. The vehicle will travel about 400 – 500km over the weekend.  At the Canada Revenue Agency’s mileage allowance this a cost/value foregone of about $216 to $290.
  4. Details, Details, in order, the ideal vehicle is as follows:
    1. Properly Insured for the weekend use and registered.
    2. In good working order (e.g. the rescue vehicle will not need a rescue).
    3. Pick Up Truck
    4. Crew Cab
    5. As old as 1984 to 2003; this represents the range when MS is on average diagnosed (34 years old) or typical first onset (15 years old).
    6. White with a relatively recent paint job (see below for specifics for each scenario).
    7. Willingness to call the truck MS Daisy 2018 which represent a terrible pun on MS, the movie and the year the truck will be used in the ride.

How to Pick MS Daisy

Back to sitting on a tail gate, am looking for a donation of the use of a truck for June 8 -10, 2018 weekend to support the ride.  In my minds eye, this could take a few different forms:

  1. Use a Personal Vehicle
  2. Go and Rent a Truck.
  3. Borrow a Company Truck.
  4. Borrow a Car Dealer Truck.
  5. Have a Truck Donated and Then Auction It.

Use a Personal Vehicle

Assuming one has a truck, this is the easiest option but also the one with highest personal risk and costs.  Also it has limited opportunity to raise funds or cross promote the ride.  Ideally the owner of the vehicle has cleared the weekend with their insurance company.  Any insurance and operational costs could be reimbursed by the Society and the individual providing the vehicle may choose to donate-back these amounts to the society.  As for risks, particularly for an older vehicle, the owner or driver would need to hope for the best and have their car club card (e.g. AMA) handy.

Go and Rent a Truck

The society already rents vehicles for the ride and presumably adding one more would not cost too much more.  The rental agency may even be encouraged to donate the use of the vehicle and operating costs in exchange for promotion and acknowledgement.

The rental agency could even have its staff driving the vehicle to further promote the organization’s support of MS.  Unfortunately, with the number of charity events and the demands for similar donations from rental agencies, such a sponsorship arrangement can be a tough sell.  Whether a donation or a commercial transaction, this option virtually eliminates the risks of break down, availability and insurance coverage.

Borrow a Company Truck (including one from a Dealer!)

An extension of renting a truck but in this case it is one owned by a corporation who is willing to make it available for the weekend.  Borrowing the truck could be part of a larger sponsorship by an organization of the MS ride (e.g. in addition to their team).  A truck with company markings already provides some brand recognition although it may be lost to most people.  The company providing the vehicle would assure that it is in good working order, insured and of course registered.

Have a Truck Donated and Then Auction It

Picture this, you are on the MS ride and true to form it is raining, you are tired and there is BIG-FRIGGIN’ hill between you and the next rest stop.  This hill is about as high as Mount Everest, who builds roads up FRIGGIN’ Mount Everest.

As you stare at this hill that is growing by the minute in height, you cannot even remember why you signed up for this ^#@)!=& ride in the first place. Actually you know why, that cursed wife/husband, girl/boyfriend, co-worker, aunt/uncle, etc. talked you into it.  Who the hell cares about MS anyway, you just want to go home.

Giving Everest a Pass for MS

Just as you contemplate that divorce/break-up/new-job/family-estrangement, a white pick up truck pulls in front of you.  From it walks a friendly volunteer who talks you down from thoughts of murder/family-job-strife.  For example, the volunteer discusses how MS is episodic, there are great days and there are days just like this one that REALLY suck.  Like most diseases, it is easy to be over-whelmed and even lash out to those who care for you and are trying to help.  The volunteer suggests that you hop in the truck, take a pass on the Mount Everest’esque hill and get driven just a few kilometers to the rest stop.

At the rest stop the volunteer then asks you to do something strange, sign the truck.  With a larger marker, you write your name, perhaps including a small note.  You notice that you are not the first to sign the truck.  Hundreds of people who have been helped by the truck or who have helped create the truck inter-mingle on the hood, fenders and doors of this circa 1995 white truck.

It is then you understand why you signed up for the 2018 ^#@)!=& MS ride.  It is because some days, people with MS just need a small rescue and a bit of hope to get to their next rest stop and so they can carry on the next day.  Just then your wife/husband, girl/boyfriend, co-worker, aunt/uncle, etc. pulls into the rest stop.  All is forgiven… well until the next big FRIGGIN’ hill that is… but that is down the road.

Wanted an Old Truck Called Driving MS Daisy

On June 9 and 10, 2018 I would like to be that volunteer that helps both riders and possibly the a marriage or a relationship.  For the weekend it needs to be in a good running condition and reasonable shape.  Likely the MS Society will register and insure it and quite frankly when we are done with it, I would then like to auction it off and possibly start again for the 2019 MS ride with a circa 1996 white pick up truck.

I have really no idea if or how I am going to do this so let’s start with a vision of how it could be done.

1. Sponsors and Friends of MS Daisy

To start, this will be a community and collaborative affair.  I am looking for a variety of sponsors from getting the truck pro bono, repairing and restoring the truck, applying thank you-decals, driving it (possibly all over Western Canada), writing on it and finally auctioning it off to start fresh.

A Pro Bono Circa 1995 Truck

To start, I need a truck. Ideally I would like to find a circa 1995 white crewcab pick up truck.  Perhaps there is a car dealership or broker who has one sitting in their inventory or a great deal comes up on the wholesale auction.  In any case, the organization providing the truck would get primary sponsorship space on the truck itself.  For example, this may be a 1-2 foot square decal on 3-4 sides of the vehicle not mention the sponsor’s name in press releases, promotional material, etc.

Repair and Restoring the Old Girl

Circa 1995 vehicles typically are showing their age.  They have a bit of rust, need mechanical work and generally need to get back into shape.  There is a parallel here to MS in which a healthy lifestyle may prevent MS episodes or at least make the episode easier to weather.

In my ideal world, this work would be done by a technical college or even a high school as a class project.  Even better, a garage or auto body shop would sponsor and supervise the work restoring MS Daisy 2018.  While in the shop she would get a good basic engine overhaul, full mechanical inspection and repair (e.g. brakes, electrical system, suspension, etc.) and possibly new rubber.  Cosmetically she will get a paint job, ideally in flat matte white.  Why, because it easier to write on of course!

In addition to sponsorship decals, everyone who is involved in buying and restoring MS Daisy will get to sign her.  In this way, the MS Society can use MS Daisy as a symbol as how the disease touches the lives of Canadians.

Driving MS Daisy 2018

The intent is drive MS Daisy in the June 9/10 2018 Leduc to Camrose MS Ride.  In of itself this would be success.  However this is just one of a number of events held in Alberta and Western Canada for MS.  As a result, MS Daisy can be used in these other events in the same role – helping riders make it past that one seemingly insurmountable hill.

Beyond MS Events, the MS Society may also wish to loan the vehicle out to other events.  For example, MS Daisy can help with the Tour de l’Alberta, the Tour of Alberta or even other rides that meet the MS Society’s goals or that sponsor the society.

Whether on the Leduc to Camrose MS Ride, another MS Ride or on a partnership event, everyone who comes into contact with MS Daisy needs to sign her guest book. The fact that her guest book is her hood, front fenders and doors is part of what makes MS Daisy eccentric and a bit charming.  It also builds a tangible link between individuals, the vehicle and the MS brand.  In the day in age of instant celebrity and oblivion via social media, this gives those touched by MS Daisy and supporting her (sponsors, volunteers) a tangible touch point to a larger community cause.

Retiring MS Daisy

Every year MS will strike a new group of young people in Canada and every year a new MS Daisy should be found.  But what to do with the old one?  My suggestion is to make this a very public auction and invite everyone who signed MS Daisy to come and see her go to her new home.  To a certain extent, this is the final metaphor for the MS Daisy program.  By riding in the MS Ride, we want those who have the disease to go on with their lives in as normal of fashion as possible.

But what about 2019?  Ideally a new MS Daisy will be found and the above will start over again.  Perhaps as the program gains traction, there may even be a chance to have competition to be the technical college who works on MS Daisy or a bidding war to be the car dealership who found the best MS Daisy.

These are possibilities for the future, in the meantime, does anyone have a circa 1995 white pick up truck?  I would like to use it to help someone conquer an Everest’esque hill one June 9 and 10, 2018.