A local group of car enthusiasts began working last fall towards a big goal of raising $100,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. After grassroots efforts such as yard sales, car washes, and roadblocks, the group known as Cruisin’ for a Cure is nearly halfway there, and a new partnership with the BiG Cruise of Bowling Green should accelerate their efforts.

Now in its third year, the BiG Cruise is a series of free summer cruise-ins for antique, custom, muscle, and modified cars. In addition to enjoying the live music, games, vendors and camaraderie, attendees can purchase raffle tickets for the season finale’s custom truck and trailer giveaway. In support of Cruisin’ for a Cure, this year BiG Cruise organizers will donate all proceeds from the raffle ticket sales to JDRF.

“We’ve given our raffle proceeds to St. Jude Children’s Hospital the past two years,” said BiG Cruise event coordinator Janet Henderson, “but when we heard about the efforts of Cruisin’ for a Cure and saw plans for the totally restored 1952 Chevy Pickup to be raffled off, we immediately knew this was a perfect fit. So, on September 25 at the final BiG Cruise, some lucky ticket holder will win a beautiful, custom-built truck or $20,000, either prize completely donated by our wonderful sponsors” Henderson continued.

“Inspired by three precious little girls who face the daily struggles of life with diabetes, we decided to host a fundraiser to help find a cure,” explains LaTasha Hatcher, one of the organizers of Cruisin’ for a Cure. “We were overwhelmed with support and ideas from our families, friends, and this great community once we had the plans in place, especially with the truck and trailer being donated to us. With the help of our sponsors, the Big Cruise, and our volunteers, we are confident that we will hit our goal and help the children that are fighting this disease,” Hatcher said.

The $5 raffle tickets will be available at all five BiG Cruises beginning May 8 at the National Corvette Museum, at each Holley Hot Rod Car Show and Parade taking place before eleven Bowling Green Hot Rods’ games, and several other locations throughout the summer including the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Henderson also will sell tickets as she participates in the seven-day, seven-city Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour that stops in Bowling Green on Tuesday, June 8 and at next month’s Grand Rod Run in Pigeon Forge.

Attendees at each of these events can keep up with the fundraising progress by watching a replica Shell gas pump provided by Houchens Industries as it fills up closer to the goal. Organizers will unveil the truck and kick-off the 2010 event season with a press conference at the Bowling Green Ballpark on Thursday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m. Representatives from Cruisin’ for a Cure, BiG Cruise, JDRF, and Holley Performance Products will attend along with the many truck sponsors.

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the largest worldwide organization dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes and gives more resources to diabetes research than any non-profit, non-governmental organization in the world. Since 1970, JDRF has provided more that $900 million to diabetes research. To learn more, visit http://www.jdrf.org/.