It started as a way to help a friend, grew into a way to help others in Langley struggling with mental health issues, and as of Sunday grew into an unexpectedly large community-wide effort that organizers hope to repeat year after year.
Paul Frost and Monty McCallum of Langley have a friend who “got sick,” needed help, but couldn’t afford to seek professional help.
People shouldn’t be put in that kind of situation, McCallum said. So, they wanted to help remove those financial barriers for people getting counselling.
“It seems our system for mental health resources still requires a great deal of awareness and funding brought to the table, as right now most people do not know where to turn,” Frost elaborated.
“We realized that many of us had been in a dark place at one time or another in our lives, and we were not really aware of the signs of symptoms of mental illness. We decided to hold a fundraiser and help the people who have no extended medical or limited funds to go to a professional to get some help.”
Recognizing the need, these automotive enthusiasts – working with other friends from the Strong Car Club – approached the Langley Community Services (LCS) to partner in developing a financial assistance program.
On Father’s Day they held a car show in Brookswood aimed at helping fill those coffers, bringing in an estimated $7,500 the first time out.
“We felt we could best honour and support people we know who struggle with mental illness by holding a fundraiser and making sure the money stays in the community, where it could help people in the area,” Frost said.
McCallum and Frost were pretty “blown away” by the participation and support that was demonstrated Sunday, for what they now insist was the inaugural Stay Gold Custom Car Show. Given the participation level, they’re anxious to do it, again and again.
“The show was great. It was better than expected, especially because of the weather,” Frost said.
Despite overcast skies and even threats of rain, about a hundred custom car owners gathered in the parking lot of the George Preston Recreation Centre for the fundraising event.
Next year, they’re hoping to double the space and the entries.
Frost, and some of the guys who pulled the charity event together can recall skateboarding and listening to tunes together during their teens, then graduating to being members of a low rider car club and sharing time working on cars – all that before life and responsibilities took over.
While a few of the guys still keep in touch more regularly, many lost touch – until Sunday, when they reunited to support the cause.
“It brought a lot of guys together that we haven’t seen for years,” Frost said. “We all came together here because we wanted to show we care.”
They never knew how the car show was going to go, how many would come out, or how much could be raised. But the organizing duo was unanimous in the last hour of the show – as the rain started to come down – that they’d be back for a repeat performance.
“We just wanted to see what we could do. Now, we’ve set the bar, and we know what we can achieve,” Frost said.
If in four-and-a-half months they could pull together an event of this size and calibre, he threw down a challenge to himself and others: Imagine what they could do with a year of planning.
Totals were still being finalized But as of Monday, Frost estimated that Stay Gold raised at least $7,500 for the mental health support fund available through LCS.
“Mental health is difficult for most to talk about and as such finding resources to support it is not always as easy as it may seem. We, as a club, felt that doing our part to raise awareness would go a long way in the community and hopefully inspire someone to talk about it and maybe change or save someone’s life.”
“We’ll book the venue and then go to work building the next show,” he concluded, hoping to announce the 2018 date within the next few weeks.
Stay tuned to the Langley Advance for more information about next year’s show.