Move over, Mary Kay pink Cadillacs, and make room for a pink Corvette that will take to the streets come October.
As part of a fundraising effort by a local team that will trek the three-day, 60-mile Susan G. Komen for the Cure walk Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 in the Clearwater-St. Pete Beach area, the team is raffling a 1987 Corvette donated by team member Diane Thomas and her husband, Tim Thomas. The walk raises money for research and awareness of breast cancer.
The Hernando County SWAT (Strong Women Always Together) team is led by Kimberly Garcia, owner of Kim2BeFit, a fitness and wellness enterprise based in Spring Hill. She and Diane Thomas have put together a group of 17 women, ages early 20s to late 60s, who will accept the walk challenge — if they can raise a minimum of $2,300 each to participate.
That's a total of $39,100. "We want to raise well above this," Garcia said.
Raffling the Corvette, which they're calling the "CureVette," is the linchpin of the team's fundraising. Every penny of each $25 raffle ticket will go to the Komen fund. Tickets will remain on sale through October, when the drawing will be held in advance of the walk.
The classy classic was unveiled at a recent weekend Open Market at Hernando Beach. It will be on display, with raffle tickets available, from 6 to 8 p.m. each Thursday at Chick-Fil-A, 13143 Cortez Blvd., during the restaurant's weekly car show, and also the first Monday of every month at Dairy D'lites in the Barclay Crossing center at Barclay Avenue and Spring Hill Drive. Normally, on weekdays, it will be available for viewing at the Thomases' business, Nature Coast Brick Pavers, 14226 County Line Road.
"The car is a bonus to the $25 donation," said Thomas, who said her "passion" is fighting breast cancer.
Although no family member has experienced cancer, Diane said she's "had a couple of scares." And the couple has a daughter, Meghan, 19, whose mother added: "I hope she never has to go through it."
The car raffle idea grew out of a team brainstorming session on how to raise money, Thomas said. She and her husband logged onto Craigslist on the Internet, searching for an appropriate vehicle. They found the Corvette, offered by a Tampa owner.
The Thomases paid $5,900 for the sports car with 150,000 miles on the odometer and added $2,500 in upgrades, including a new stereo system and an alarm and remote start system. For another $1,700, they had the Vette painted pink over its original burnt orange, which Diane Thomas decided was a "quite manly" color.
Pink is the designated color for the fight against breast cancer.
The SWAT team has a number of other fundraisers in the works.
If a team member comes knocking, Garcia said, "No donation is too small. If you can even offer $5, myself and our team would be grateful."
In an e-mail to clients and friends, Garcia added: "Will you please help me in meeting my minimum goal so I can focus on helping myself and my team to go above and beyond in this fundraiser?"
Beth Gray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.