Classic cars and a cause

About 20 classic cars and trucks lined the St. Wilfrid of York Episcopal Church parking lot in Huntington Beach on Saturday for the sixth annual Driving Toward a Cure fundraiser benefiting Alzheimer's disease research.

The thunderous noise of V8 engines filled the air outside the church, where members of the West Orange County Alumnae Chapter of the Sigma Kappa Sorority guided each vehicle to its spot.

Brayden Scaffide, 3, perked up when he saw a powder blue, 1950s Chevrolet pickup truck and became even more excited when he saw a white, 1965 Ford Mustang.

"Last year they had three Mustangs, and he took pictures with them," said Brayden's mother, Heather. "They're his favorite."

Sigma Kappa is a national sorority whose philanthropic projects focus mainly on Alzheimer's and the study of aging. Proceeds from the car show are donated to the Alzheimer's Assn.

"It's out there, and it's devastating," event organizer Charlene Melrose said of the disease. "It robs people of their identity, and research could make the difference."

Melrose was moved by the suffering of those touched by the disease when she joined Sigma Kappa at Washington State University.

Fellow alumnae Heather Scaffide had a more personal experience; her grandmother suffered with the disease for 17 years before she died.

"It's something that's growing in numbers, and we need to find some way to help people that are suffering, and to help people find a cure for this illness," she said.

About one in three seniors die with the disease or some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Assn. website.

Classic car owners came out in full force to support the cause. Huntington Beach resident Don Bolte brought his 1938 Chevrolet short-bed pickup, which has been in his family since 1949.

The majority of the vehicles in the lot were shiny and spiffy, but Bolte, 61, had painted his with a spray enamel used on commercial tractors, giving the truck a more rustic look.

"I tried to make it look like what it would have been in 1938 rather than put modern paint" on it, he said.

Like many attendees, Bolte had someone close in his life who suffered from Alzheimer's. He took care of his mother during the last year and a half of her life. She died in 2012.

"It's pretty debilitating," he said. "They can't really take care of themselves and, at the end, she didn't know who I was, and that was tough."

A few paces away from Bolte was Paul Montesano, who brought that 1965 Mustang. The Fountain Valley resident and his group of friends from the Orange County Mustang Club seek out car show charities.

"If there's other car shows, yeah, I'll go to them, but my first preferences are the ones for charity," he said.

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