Vancouver Island car community comes together to raise money for COVID-19 research

Vancouver Island car community comes together to raise money for COVID-19 research
Photo contributed
Mark Ferris, organizer and creator of Cars4Covid, stands in front of a Porsche GT3.

Car lovers from across Vancouver Island have come together for a good cause amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cars4Covid, a newly formed group of car enthusiasts, will be cruising out front of hospitals in Victoria, Nanaimo, Comox Valley and Vancouver on Saturday, April 18 at 7 p.m., to show their support for health care workers, first responders and everyone else working on the front lines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Victoria cruise will take place out front of the Victoria General Hospital and will follow fire trucks and other first responders who typically pass the hospital to show of support at that time. Once passed the hospital, Cars4Covid participants will head to Westshore Town Centre Mall, cruising along Watkiss Way, Helmcken Road, Veterans Memorial Boulevard and Goldstream Avenue.

Mark Ferris, organizer of Cars4Covid, told CHEK News, said the event is all about showing support to those who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic.

“We all belong to different car groups and car clubs and we’ve banded together to create this awareness for our first responders and our health care workers,” Ferris said.

Cars4Covid is also selling decals ­­made by Langford-based M2 Graphics for $5. Proceeds will be donated to the Victoria General Hospital and University of British Columbia Hospital Foundation’s COVID-19 Response and Research Funds. VGH is also one of several hospitals in the province participating in the Solidarity Trail, an international clinical trial organized by the World Health Organization to help find an effective treatment for the coronavirus.

“It gives us a chance to have something on our cars, displayed, so that people know we support our first responders and health care workers,” Ferris said. “It’s not just people out driving. We’re trying to raise funds for research and show support.”

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Ferris, who also runs a YouTube channel called West Coast Supercars and Classics, has been involved in the car scene for years and attending social events with other like-minded individuals. But with the coronavirus pandemic ongoing and physical distancing orders still in place, Ferris said car enthusiasts, including himself, aren’t able to get together.

“We are not able to go out and do our regular social events at all,” he said. “But there are a lot of people who would like to get out and do something with their cars because they enjoy using their cars.”

Ferris said he noticed some enthusiasts driving around the hospitals around 7 p.m. and figured it would be wise to create a coordinated group that could show their support in the same fashion and raise money for COVID-19 research all at the same time.

“I figured, why don’t we do something more conscious so that people understand that we are there to show support,” he said. “We’re just using cars.”

There is also a benefit to using cars, said Ferris, who will be driving in his Porsche Panamera Hybrid on Saturday.

“They’re self-isolating. If everybody with their own car, they’re not interacting with others and we don’t have to worry about physical distancing,” he said. “We felt like it was a fairly safe way for people to get out and express themselves and raise money for a great cause.”

Other cruises are being planned as well, including one next week at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

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Nicholas PescodNicholas Pescod

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