Car Show Fundraiser-The Orlando Times
Local Father Raises Funds And Awareness For Daughter’s Disease
BY JALESSA CASTILLO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
KISSIMMEE - A Charity Car Show was held on July 29 from 11am-6pm. The event, which raised funds and awareness to support Crohn’s Disease and Lupus took place on S. John Young Parkway in Kissimmee. With various competitive categories including best truck, best low rider, and a performance by Kid Balla, the event garnered over 20 sponsors and encouraged attendees to wear purple in support.
Angelo Cortez put the charity car show together to raise funds for Nemours Children Hospital. His 15 year old daughter, Victoria, has Crohn’s Disease and was treated at the hospital.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease can involve different areas of the digestive tract in different people.
While there's no known cure for Crohn's disease, therapies can greatly reduce its signs and symptoms and even bring about long-term remission.
The exact cause of Crohn's disease remains unknown. A number of factors, such as heredity and a malfunctioning immune system, likely play a role in its development.
IBDs are usually diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 15 and 30, with one in ten being under the age of 18.
The event also raised awareness for Lupus, which his mother was diagnosed with.
Lupus occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues and organs. Inflammation caused by lupus can affect many different body systems — including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, brain, heart and lungs.
Certain infections, drugs, or even sunlight can trigger some to be born with a higher likelihood of developing the disease. While there's no cure, treatments can help control symptoms.
“This is the first event I’ve ever done,” said Cortez. “People have been doing car shows but a lot of them don’t do it for charity. A couple is for breast cancer awareness but I haven’t seen any one do one [for these other diseases].”
Cortez received help from his friend, Rashan Gonzalez, and their sponsors. Gonzalez hosts regular car shows twice a month.
“I’ve known Angelo for years and he knew I do events for the community and he asked me to help him and I didn’t hesitate. I created the flyer and event on Facebook and the rest was a breeze,” said Gonzalez, owner of Ali Audio 5oundz. “If I can find anyway to give back I’m going do it and it feels great to do it, especially when it comes to kids and families in need.”
Between the registration fees of $10 to display, $15 for motorcycles, $20 for cars/trucks, and raffles that ranged from $5 to $20, they were able to raise $800.
“It turned out good. I gave trophies out in different categories, including kid’s power wheels. I had a 6-foot trophy for the car club that had the most members registered. Then I had an 8-foot trophy for my daughter to give to whatever car, truck, or motorcycle she liked,” said Cortez. “We did a raffle with a couple of gift cards and car audio merchandise.”
All registration fees were donated to Nemours Children Hospital.
“He reached out to me and they came up with the idea for a car show. It’s raising money for the kids and the great work the hospital does but it also fosters growth in the community and inclusion so of course we were on board,” said Matthew Morak, Development Coordinator at Nemours Children Hospital. “When someone donates to Nemours 100% of every dollar goes to its intended purpose, whether programs or patients. We are very happy and blessed and gracious to have the opportunity to work with groups like Angelo’s.”
In 1936 The Nemours Foundation was formed under the terms of Alfred duPont’s will. Upon his death, he left behind a $40 million estate with specific instructions to create a charitable corporation devoted to providing health care services to children.
Today, Nemours has grown to become one of the nation’s largest integrated pediatric health systems, providing hospital- and clinic-based specialty care, primary care, prevention, medical education programs, and more throughout the Delaware Valley and in Florida.
“When Victoria got sick we didn’t know what was wrong with her. She was admitted [to the hospital] and she was there about a week and half before they figured it out. Being a parent, it was stressful not knowing what it could be or couldn’t be,” said Crystal Cortez, Angelo’s wife. “I thought it would be a good cause to give back to. For the hospital’s research or helping the families, every little bit helps.”
Victoria was diagnosed October 2016. While the disease has affected her everyday life she appreciates her family and community’s support.
“It meant a lot to know that people cared,” she said.
Currently she is being treated with STELARA. It starts with a one-time IV infusion to help reduce symptoms of Crohn's disease, followed by maintenance injections, every two months to help keep the disease under control. This has helped doctors to stabilize her condition, although, there is a hole in her bladder that they are still working on.
Cortez, of Puerto Rican and Mexican decent, moved to Florida from Texas about 24 years ago. He works in landscaping but does car audio on the side, spending most weekends attending various car shows. His 3 other children, 19-year old Dominic, 16-year old Christopher, and 12-year old Mackenzie and make up the rest of his family.
He notes his motivation as wanting to help kids. He plans on hosting another event soon in which proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House.