Car show benefits children with medical condition

May 2—The Jacksonville community gathered at a car show benefiting two children who were recently diagnosed with diabetes, despite the threat of rain in the forecast.

Image being a parent of three young children and having one diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 9. Now imagine how it must feel to have a second child, age 7, diagnosed with the same condition just one month later. This is the situation one family from Rusk faced when their children were diagnosed in August and October 2023.

Parents Darrion Parks and Taylor Cole said Kaden, 9, was diagnosed first but required a week in the hospital.

"Ava started showing the same symptoms the oldest had within a couple of weeks. It was very scary, very stressful," Cole said. "With her we didn't have to stay in the hospital though. With my oldest, the first one that was diagnosed, we had to stay in the hospital for a week."

Cole said when Ava was also diagnosed she couldn't believe it, thinking, "There's no way possible they could both have diabetes."

Parks said he never again wants to feel like he did when his children were diagnosed. He said he experienced a range of emotions and, like any parent, wondered what the next steps would be. Parks said the diagnoses have created a definite change of lifestyle. Both parents report that Kaden is learning to test himself and administer insulin on his own. It is the couple's hope, however, that they will be able to purchase diabetic alert dogs for the children.

Cole said she was recently quoted $32,000 for one dog.

'They're not covered by insurance," she said. "Most people do fundraisers."

The car show by Hazelwood Hotrods was the first event to raise funds towards the purchase of the dogs. Jeremy Bussell of Hazelwood Hotrods said he'd been requested by Kim Nolley to do the show.

Nolley, administrator of Country Place Senior Living and friend of the family, converted the facility's annual car show into a benefit. As with previous car shows hosted by Country Place Senior Living, free food and music were provided. In conjunction with the car show, Nolley conducted a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and raffles for a grill and other items.

Bussell said there were about 50 cars participating, noting the expected rain may have kept some people from coming.

"This is just our way to give back to people in our communities," Bussell said. "Hazelwood, that's what we do."

Bussell said this wasn't the first benefit show by Hazelwood Hotrods and the group would be conducting nine such benefits over the course of this year. Bussell said 100% of the proceeds are given to the people for whom the benefit is conducted.

"Everything that's raised here will go the family," he said. "Even money I put into the show, I don't take back out. I give it to them."

Winners, who were presented trophies for Saturday's show, included:

—Best of Show — Dickie Doughy, '56 Chevy Bel Air

—Best of Show Runner Up — Robert Hansen, '79 Transam

—East Texas Lady Driven Sponsor Pick — Temple Castleberry, '67 Cougar

—Hazelwood Hotrods Pick — Bryan Parrish, '70 Chevelle

—People's Choice Award — David Bateman, '34 Ford

Hazelwood Hotrods maintains a Facebook page where they post East Texas area car shows. The organization will also be responsible for the car show at Tomato Fest.

Parks and Cole both expressed gratitude to the community for coming out and to those who organized and donated to the event, which raised $2,285.

Those who donated to or volunteered at the event included Heart to Heart Hospice, Jerry Jones with My Texas Estate Plan, UT Health/Choice Rehab and Hospice, Super Gallo, Gene Brumbelow, Heart of Texas/Tamiko, Three Oaks Hospice, Harbor Hospice, Hospice Plus/Megan Wood and Country Place employees from Canton and Jacksonville location.

Businesses and individuals who donated items for the silent auction were Apex 3 cinema- Jacksonville, Jalapeno Tree, Scooters Coffee, Pizza Hut- Jacksonville, Jersey Mikes, JW's BBQ, Wal-Mart, Ally Bee's, Country Charm Candles, Dangling Divas, Bullard Nutrition, Krazy Customs, Country Place Senior Living, O'reilly's, Nana's Crafty Creations, Super 1, Blake Furniture, Earline Hendricks, Theresa Hart, Super Cuts, Massage by Rhonda, BB Parlor, Enduring Beauty, Chase Birdwell, Rancho Grande, Chad Etheridge, Robin McManus, KB3 Photography and Isign shop.

Nolley expressed special thanks to Family First, for use of their parking lot, and Hazelwood Hotrods for their participation.

Anyone willing to donate may do so at Austin Bank where an account has been set up to benefit Kaden and Ava Parks.