Proof positive: Proceeds from car show supports those with cystic fibrosis

Published 3:39 pm Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Once the cars had left Main Street and the lines of people had come and gone, it may have seemed that the first Winchester Hot Rod Festival was an event of the past.

However, the best was yet to come.

Last Tuesday, a check of $3,000 was presented at the Clark County Courthouse to the Kentucky Cystic Fibrosis Services to help individuals and families in the midst of facing the disorder.

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“What I’m doing is paying it forward, and I will continue to pay it forward because it’s near and dear to my heart,” said Robbie Fountain of Remember When Cruiserz, who helped organize the Hot Rod Festival. “When I meet someone who has a family member with CF, I know what they’re going through.”

Fountain’s son, Jacob, passed away in 2014 from cystic fibrosis when he was just 17 years old.

The condition affects a protein in the body.

Lois Craigmile, a retired nurse, helped start Kentucky Cystic Fibrosis Services.

“It affects the lungs, and it can infect the gastrointestinal system to where it impairs the digestion [and] breathing, they suffer a lot of infections,” Craigmile said. For some of the kids, that requires frequent hospitalizations and a lot of medications, pancreatic enzymes are not put out like a [typical] person for the digestion of food, so they have to supplement that.”

In some cases, diabetes may result.

Craigmyle was joined by Alice Dehner, Treasurer for KCFS, and board member Melanie Barber.

However, there were others present to show support.

Taking time out from their day at City Hall, Winchester Mayor JoEllen Reed joined the group at the courthouse’s front steps, as did City Manager Mike Flynn and many others.

The $3,000 – from the cost of vehicle registration for the car show, raffles, vendor spots, and other means – will go toward assisting families with gas cards, meal tickets, and more.

“We serve central and eastern Kentucky, so it’s a big circle of people,” Craigmile said. “They come two [or] three hours away to clinics.”

Research, care, and other efforts have reaped positive results as the organization tends to those in need.

“Life expectancy has shot up over the years,” acknowledged Dehner. “We do medications. We do equipment. We do schools.”

Fountain has also made a continual effort to work with the foundation, yearly hosting the Forever 17 Car & Bike Show over the summer.

“We’ve always done car shows, drag racing, [and] demolition derby,” Fountain said. “When my son passed away, we wanted to do something in memory of him.”

Fountain doesn’t shy away from the fact that dealing with and encountering cystic fibrosis is challenging.

“It’s a horrible, horrible disease,” he said.

However, in an emotional moment, he also acknowledged the closeness of his relationship with KCFS.

“When you have people that show love and affection like they do, it makes a world of difference,” he said.