A Family’s Recount of the 2017 Okanagan Dream Rally!
Contributed by Erin Cooper
When my boys heard about the Dream Rally a year ago they thought it sounded amazing. Super Cars- Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, McLarens and more. The chance to not only see these cars up close but to possibly be a co-pilot in one of these cars and have a personal driver for the day. We applied for the Dream Rally as soon as we could and heard back quickly that my boys had been accepted to be co-pilots. From here on the countdown began. This may have been a mistake on my part. I had to endure 6 months of my boys speculating on what car they might get to ride in and how amazing it was going to be!
The night before the Dream Rally was like the night before Christmas in our house.
Excitement, anticipation and struggles with falling asleep. Many questions came from our boys especially our 12 year old Isaiah who is on the autism spectrum. What if my driver isn’t nice? What if the car I’m in isn’t very nice? What if I get scared and the car is too loud? What if I miss you and need to talk to you? What if it’s not fun? Question after question was answered and finally sleep came. We awoke the morning of the Dream Rally and after a quick breakfast arrived in downtown Kelowna.
As we approached Bernard Avenue we started seeing the cars lined up. My husband, boys and I were in awe. We knew there would be a lot of amazing vehicles but this was incredible! Rows and rows of all the cars little boys and girls (and big boys and girls!) dream about. After figuring out where to go and getting our information, the hunt was on for car and driver. We found Isaiah’s driver first. All of the nerves and anxiety quickly drained away as he met his fantastic driver and saw the car he would be riding in. A beautiful red Ferrari! His driver was so warm, friendly and caring. Mom’s nerves were calmed as well knowing her boy would be in good hands. Then we had to find the next car and driver. Again we were greeted by a friendly and outgoing driver, he was excited to be spending the day with Micah and to be driving him around in his Audi R8.
With co-pilots getting to know their drivers and getting ready for the drive to Penticton it was time for parents to move to the sidelines. Watching the excitement of these kids as they sat in their dream vehicles was emotional for more than a few parents. For some of these kids the fastest they get to go every day is however fast their wheelchairs will take them. For other kids life consists of doctor appointments, hospital stays and tests that no child should have to go through. For many of the other kids life every day is a challenge. The world is a big, loud, overwhelming place for them and it’s not easy to face each day. As we stood back looking at these kids there were smiles, laughter and excitement. Whatever challenges and scary things life held were forgotten for a little while. There was something special in the air and I wanted to bottle it up and take a little bit of it home with me. As the vehicles drove off to Penticton I had tears in my eyes. Seeing the joy on so many of these children’s faces was priceless.
After the Dream Rally was over and my boys were home from their fantastic day they only had one question, “can we do it again next year mom?”
Our community is so fortunate to have an amazing event like the Dream Rally and behind the Dream Rally the amazing people from the August Family Foundation. Without them this event would never happen and so thank you August family and all who work with you and volunteer to make this event happen.