By Steven Hoffman
Is there anything better than driving around in a clean car on a sunny, summer afternoon?
How about knowing that the donation that you made to get the car cleaned will be used for a very worthy cause?
Kassidy England is currently organizing a second annual car wash fundraiser to benefit the Eli Seth Matthews Foundation, the local non-profit established by Oxford resident Paul Matthews to raise money to fight childhood leukemia. His son, Eli Seth Matthews, passed away in January of 2011, and the foundation was established shortly thereafter.
The car wash will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 14 at England's Automotive at 561 Lincoln St. in Oxford.
England said that she wanted to organize a fundraiser to help the cause because so many people in Oxford had been touched by Eli's brave battle against cancer. She is also in the same grade as Eli's brother, Austin, at school.
“When people hear about Eli's story, they are willing to be generous,” England said, explaining that last year many people in the community brought their cars, trucks, and even an ambulance to get them cleaned, yes, but to also support a good cause.
England, who will be a junior at Oxford Area High School in the fall, said that the inaugural event raised more than $1,000 that helped Paul Matthews reach his fundraising goal before he presented a check to the Druley Lab at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., where doctors are working to advance research that will ultimately lead to a cure for Pediatric cancers, including leukemia.
England noted that the second annual car wash will likely be the last fundraiser to benefit the Eli Seth Matthews Foundation before Paul Matthews makes the contribution to the cancer researchers this year.
She said that Paul Matthews is very good at sharing Eli's story, and it is difficult for her to imagine living through what Eli and his family lived through during his short life.
“I want to do as much as I can to help those who are working to find a cure,” England said.
In addition to the time that Kassidy spends organizing the event, England's Automotive donates the water and the supplies that are needed for the car wash. Many of the volunteers are students from Oxford schools.
“I recruit people from Helping Hands and I also get my friends from school to help out,” England explained.
Helping Hands participates in numerous activities that benefit the community throughout the year.
The Oxford school community also holds numerous events each year to specifically benefit the Eli Seth Matthews Foundation, including a dodge ball tournament that is organized by the high school's chapter of the FBLA and a memorial run that the cross country team does.
England said that in addition to the car wash, a lemonade stand will be set up on Sunday. Matthews will be selling t-shirts and bracelets to raise additional money for the Eli Seth Matthews Foundation.
The car wash is a rain or shine event.