Eight-year-old Kaiden Schroeder of McPherson has been battling the disease for the past four years.
“My idea is that we’re going to try to get sponsors from businesses from Hillsboro, McPherson and Canton and then get money from raffle tickets,” Jason Hamm said.
For $5 a ticket, Hamm said participants can buy chances to win the car. The winning ticket will be drawn prior to the finals of the July 21 demolition derby at the McPherson County Fair in Canton.
The lucky ticket holder can actually drive the car in the finals if she or he wants to.
“A lot of people have said, ‘I want to buy raffle tickets, but I don’t want to drive the car,” Hamm said. “I said that’s no problem—but don’t let that stop you from buying tickets.
“If we draw your ticket and you don’t want to (drive), we’ll just draw another ticket until we find someone who does want to drive it.”
Even before ticket sales have officially begun, the project has already raised $600.
“My goal is to get four or five grand,” Hamm said. “All proceeds go to the Schroeders—to Kaiden—to help them. That doesn’t pay for near everything, but it sure can help.”
Kaiden, son of Chris and Jenny Schroeder, was first diagnosed with leukemia at age 4. He has endured four relapses since then, but the family is hopeful.
“Kaiden had a bone-marrow transplant from a sister this winter, and it’s going good,” Hamm said.
Kaiden’s sister, Ashlyn, is 4 years old, and brother Bryson is 6 months old.
Even though competition among drivers is always intense during a derby, camaraderie develops between the drivers over the years.
“Chris used to demo, but he hasn’t or four years because there’s more important things going on,” Hamm said.
“I called up a bunch of friends and said, ‘Hey, on June 22nd we’re going to build this car, and if you can make it over anytime, come help,’” Hamm said Saturday morning.
“I have a lot of friends who said they’re going to be here at noon or afternoon. I told them the shop door would be open at 8 in the morning, and whoever wants to come and help is more than welcome to come by.”
To get the project started, a friend donated a 1985 Chevy Caprice. The crew of volunteers retrofitted the vehicle Saturday to meet competition requirements. A Hillsboro business owner donated the metal needed for structural reinforcement.
“It will be a good, safe-built running car,” Hamm said.
The work has been enjoyable.
“We thought it would be really cool and lots of fun, so we’re all having a good time building the car,” Hamm said. “We’re going to grill and barbecue and do what we can to help out a family.”
With the mechanical work complete, the car will be painted within the next two weeks.
“Kaiden’s a big K-State fan, so Austin Jost is going to paint the whole car crazy purple and put the K-State logo on it,” Hamm said.
Prior to the McPherson County Fair, raffle tickets will be available at the Carquest store in Hillsboro.
“The raffle tickets will sell all through the fair at Canton,” he added. “But if anybody wants to donate or buy raffle tickets, they can just get a hold of me and we will get them some.
“We haven’t talked to all the business yet, if they want to help sponsor,” Hamm said.
He hopes people will be generous.
“We’re just trying to do a real good thing for a family that could use some help. A lot of us are blessed with healthy kids–– and you don’t take that for granted.”