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Car club hits accelerator for cruises, shows in ’21

Submitted photo Brielle Butler, 3, daughter of Rachel and Tony Butler of Cortland, was chosen as the Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club benefit recipient for 2020 even though all club events were canceled.

AUSTINTOWN — The Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club is set to kick off its weekly cruises for 2021.

After a year of no cruises or Cars in the Park show, members and car enthusiasts are ready to shift gears to a more normal atmosphere.

“Actually, the jury is out on that,” Dave Bayowski, one of the club’s officers, said. “Half are ready to go, and the other half are hesitant still.”

The 2021 cruises will continue to raise funds for children and are heading to a new location.

Tuesday will kick off the season at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Austintown Plaza. The cruises will take place 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday into September.

MVOCC members said they feel there will be plenty of room for the show at the plaza.

“In years past we would have some nights where over 100 cars showed up,” Bayowski said. “This year will be interesting. We’re optimistic this will be a win-win-win situation.”

Bayowski said the club will be abiding by any guidelines at the time that are mandated for each cruise. The same will apply to the “Cars in the Park” show on Aug. 1 at Boardman Park.

KIDS IN NEED

The 2020 season basically didn’t exist as far as events go. That didn’t stop the club from completing its main annual mission of helping a young Valley child in need.

“Brielle Butler was chosen as our benefit recipient for 2020, even though all of our events were canceled,” Dee Tripp, the club’s publicity officer, said. “Brielle was born to Rachel and Tony from Cortland and has a sister, Caylynn, age 8 and a brother, Xavier, age 11”

She said in April 2019, at 6 months, two bumps were discovered on her head that turned out to be tumors. After testing, Brielle was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, which is a cell abnormality and an extremely rare form of cancer. At 7 months, a medi-port surgically was placed in her chest and chemotherapy infusions began. At 9 months, the cancer had spread to her neck and underarms and a stronger form of chemotherapy was started.

By April of this year, Brielle has completed 655 days of treatment, 29 chemo infusions at the hospital and 48 chemo shots at home. She will have another biopsy because she has something on her scalp and under her arm that the doctors want to check.

“We donated $4,075 to Brielle Butler in 2020,” Tripp said. “The money came from membership dues and a special children’s fund, plus a few members added their personal donations. The children’s fund was started by the family of Dale Queen, who was one of our charter members. When he passed, the family established this special fund.

“Since Dale’s passing, several other members who have passed, also had their memorial donations sent to the Dale Queen Children’s Fund. We also have some amazing sponsors who have supported the Children’s Fund by making donations even when we didn’t have events. There really are good people in our area.”

2021 RECIPIENT

That goodness will continue this year as the Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club has selected its benefit recipient for 2021. This year’s child is 4-year-old Joey Gaskell, son of Jessica and Todd Gaskell of Youngstown.

In October 2018, at 18 months, Joey was diagnosed with pre-b-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. His initial treatment was supposed to be about 2 1/2 years but about two weeks before the end of his treatment, he had a relapse and has begun a new kind of treatment. Joey is doing better and even though the leukemia is considered in remission, he must go to the hospital every three weeks for chemo with lots of appointments in between. He will have intensive chemo for about a year then will receive cranial radiation.

“After the radiation, he’ll go into a maintenance phase for about six months with less intensive chemo,” Tripp said.

She said in addition to helping children with significant medical issues, the club also has made several donations to Hospice of the Valley. Over the last several years the MVOCC, with the help of its many sponsors, have donated more than $220,000 total to the children and to Hospice.

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