“I just wish people would realize that anything’s possible if you try; dreams are made possible if you try.”
– Terry Fox
When Joe Pillitteri speaks of Terry Fox and all he accomplished in his short time, before being forced by illness to end his Marathon of Hope run across Canada, this is one of his favourites.
It’s the one he is using this week as he prepares for an event Saturday to raise money for Team Pillsy and the Terry Fox Foundation.
Pillitteri has his dreams, one of which is to increase the contribution raised at this year’s Terry Fox Run, and to do so, he and his cousin Mike Pillitteri have upped their goal.
Two years ago, Joe issued a friendly family challenge to his cousin in his efforts to raise money for the run, setting a goal of $50,000. Last year, they decided they were in it together, and together hoped to raise $60,000. They surpassed that, donating $84,000 to the run, and plan to top that this year, aiming for a $90,000 target.
As Team Pillsy did last year, they will be holding the second annual car wash, bake sale and touch-a-truck event at the Cornerstone Church building at 1517 Niagara Stone Road Aug 17, beginning at noon and running until 3 or 4 p.m.
The women of the congregation are busy making “the most amazing peach pies ever,” to support the fundraiser, says Pillitteri.
“I don’t know what they do to them but Seaway Farms is donating the peaches, and the church is supplying everything else.”
The first batch of pies were made last week, with Dorothy Wiens and Carole Wiens in charge, and they will be baking this Thursday and Friday as well. Some of the pies will be sold fresh, some frozen, but there is no doubt they will sell out quickly, says Joe — he went to get one at the end of the event but they were sold out. His sister had one for dessert with the family, he said, “and if I could have had five to eat by myself, I would have. They are incredible.”
“This past Wednesday and Thursday there were about five of us making the pastry and getting a first batch made and frozen,” said Dorothy Wiens.
“Pies will cost $20 as it is a fundraiser for the Terry Fox Foundation. We have all been touched by cancer one way or another, and we are excited to help in this way. Our goal is to have 250 pies made for this fundraiser.”
The car wash is a family event, Joe jokes — since he and Mike were made to work on family farms when they were kids, they carry on the tradition with their kids. “It’s like our childhood. If we had to work, so must our children.” But it was evident last year the kids had a blast, and they are looking forward to helping again this year.
Penner Building Centre is supplying the hoses, buckets and everything else they need in the way of equipment — this is a true community event, says Joe.
When he was planning the first car wash last summer and approached Pastor Peter Bayne, he readily offered the Cornerstone parking lot, a perfect location for the event. But he went one step further — he said they would provide a bake table.
It was so “wildly successful,” Joe says, this year it’s more like the pie sale is the main event, with a car wash added on. “Come buy a pie, and wait for your car to get washed. Let the kids do it for you.”
He expects to top last year’s fundraiser, which earned $6,000 for the run, setting a goal for Saturday of $7,500.
Helping Team Pillsy will be kids from Niagara schools — students from A.N. Myer, Holy Cross and Eden high schools, as well as Crossroads and St. Michael elementary schools, will be on hand to wash cars.
Pillitteri will bring tractors and grape harvesters from his company, Lakeview Equipment, for youngsters to have photos taken on them for a donation.
New this year for Team Pillsy is an offer from Grape Escape Wine Tours, whose owner Rich Mell has offered to donate $25 from every team that uses their escape room until Sept 5.
“We will throw in a case of VQA wine to the team who participates with the lowest time during the donation period,” says Joe.
Team Pillsy can use any help it can get in raising funds, he says, and is looking for volunteers to help out at Saturday’s event as well.
Also coming up is his big fundraiser, a popular annual comedy night at the Jackson-Triggs Niagara Estate Winery, Thursday, Sept. 5. He will do what he is best at — drawing a crowd for the entertainment, while raising money for a good cause.
Tickets are expected to sell out, but there are some still available at jacksontriggsniagaraamphitheatre.