It’s estimated that over half a million people will die from cancer and that there will be over 1.6 million new cases diagnosed in 2014 (American Cancer Society). It’s safe to say that throughout one’s lifetime, they will be affected by cancer – if not with a personal diagnosis, a close friend or family member will likely be told they have the disease.
Santa Clara resident Bruce Harvey knows this firsthand. His ex-wife beat breast cancer, and in the past 14 months he has lost his mom, uncle, aunt, father Richard, and friend Ernie to various forms of cancer. The mass loss of friends and family led Harvey to one solution: help find a cure for cancer.
To help his cause, the now-retired Harvey created the Richard C. Harvey and Ernie Lansford Foundation for a Cure just over two months ago, with the goal of raising money for various cancer organizations that can lead the way in eradicating the disease.
Harvey, a graduate of Wilcox High School, took the first step by creating the charity. But, he also wanted to find a way to stand out from the other cancer fundraising organizations. And, as a car enthusiast, Harvey knew just where to turn – Pineapple Rods and Kustoms in Santa Clara, where the car shop had recently built a pristine replica of the ’32 Ford Coupe seen in the film American Graffiti.
After purchasing the vehicle, Harvey had his hook for creating the foundation, and began formulating different ways he could use the car to help find a cure.
“We plan on taking the car on a US tour next year with sponsors, and we’re going to go from city to city to raise money for cancer,” says Harvey. “We have foundations that we’ve already talked to and that are setting things up, but we’re going to fill out our time for over two months of travel. While we’re on our trip, we’re going to take photos at various places. We’re going to make a calendar with the car and then we’ll use that to raise money … When we go into a city, we’ll try to show the movie [American Graffiti] and raise money through that. We’ll have auctions with items that will be donated. We might do dances and have bands come in. However we can make money for the cure, we will.”
Harvey has lofty goals and hopes to raise over $10 million over the next five or six years for cancer research. He also intends on purchasing a replica of the ’55 Chevy that Harrison Ford drives in the film, and bringing that car along on the cross-country tour.
“Cancer probably strikes everybody’s family in the US,” says Harvey. “We have to find a cure … If we can get that cure out there, that’ll be awesome.”
Until a cure is found, Harvey loves the reaction he gets when he takes the car out, and believes that through the car he can help find a cure and support Lansford’s children and grandchildren – a promise he made to his dying friend.
The Richard C. Harvey and Ernie Lansford Foundation for a Cure is going through the process of obtaining a 501c3. A website is currently up at www.bruceharvey32.com, but will likely move to a different location as the foundation gains traction. To learn more about the foundation or get information about sponsorships, call Harvey at 408-464-6807.