Colby & Cate’s Charities:
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of Colby and Cate’s Charities
Mark your calendars for the inaugural OCTANE: THE HANGAR CELEBRATION OF HOPE to support the incredible work of Colby & Cate’s Charities. This premium automotive event will take place Friday, May 10 from 7-11 p.m. for an unforgettable evening of wheels, wings and children’s wellness.
John Leonard, co-founder of OCTANE, teamed up with Matt Lutz and his family, founders of Colby & Cate’s Charities, for the inaugural OCTANE as a way to increase awareness for the charity and raise funds for an upcoming experience this summer – taking eight pediatric oncology patients and their
immediate family – all expenses paid – to Colorado, near Winter Park, for a five-day “Grand County Adventure.”
This adventure is an experience provided to the parents and siblings of the patients. Activities include whitewater rafting, horseback riding, swimming and much more.
Lutz shared his personal account of Colby & Cate’s most recent excursion to Aspen, Colorado, last month where eight pediatric oncology patients attended an all-expenses-paid, week-long adaptive ski camp. The kids-ages 13-18 years old- flew out to Aspen and met Lutz at the hotel.
“It was awesome,” he shared. “These two giant buses showed up, the kids get off and there was 150 of us outside waiting for them. Everybody had signs, shakers and noisemakers, and these kids get off not having any clue what’s about to happen. It’s just mind-blowing, and there’s a lot of smiles and organized chaos upon their arrival.”
Lutz explained that throughout the excursion, every kid gets paired up with a youth “buddy” as well as an adult “buddy.” The adult “buddies” or volunteers who come out pay their own way and come in from all over the country to volunteer.
After a week of skiing, snowmobiling, dancing, game playing, shopping, fireside songs and just being kids, the camp wraps up with a gala for all the kids and volunteers.
“A lot of the kids are seeing each other for the last time,” Lutz shared with brutal honesty. “I walked up to one of our kids, Danny, and he was with another boy, Logan, from Nebraska. Tears had filled their eyes because they were saying goodbye. I reminded them that when all these ‘old people’ standing around, myself included, went to camp, afterward we’d say, ‘I’m going to write you a letter and I hope you write me back,’ and I’d check my mailbox every day hoping that my friend would write me back. We reminded the kids that they have social media and phones to see each other and talk with each other, so you’re just saying, ‘So long.’”
The harsh reality of the situation is that some of these kids were saying goodbye to the friends that they made at camp.
“There were also tears because the kids understood that there was a very strong chance that the friends that they made and had been talking to won’t survive, and they would never see them again,” Lutz added, emotionally. “If you ever want to see 150 adults cry when saying goodbye to our kids, then go to this camp.”
Please be part of this incredible team and reserve your tickets for the inaugural OCTANE. Help create invaluable memories for Hoosier children and their families.