South Charlotte

He found a sporting way to help others

Dick Lunney

This summer, Dick Lunney traveled more than 4,000 miles in his classic 1978 MGB sports car to various events across the eastern United States and Canada.

He collected sponsorships and individual donations throughout the drive, raising nearly $5,000 for CURE Childhood Cancer, an organization that funds research specific to curing childhood cancers.

“The trip becomes the event,” Lunney said.

Lunney’s effort ended Sept. 5 at the Classic Sports Car Charity Poker Rally. The rally featured classic cars from four area car clubs in a drive around the recently-completed I-485 loop, also to to raise money for CURE Childhood Cancer.

The drivers started at 9:30 a.m., at any of the five poker card stops – Ballantyne Resort Hotel and Spa (Exit 61B), Charlotte’s Premier Outlet Mall (Exit 4), the Hendrick Luxury Auto Mall (Exit 23C), the PNC Music Pavilion (Exit 33) and the Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park (Exit 44), Lunney said.

They had two hours to make their way through each stop, pick up a playing card, and end the drive at Big Ben British Pub in historic Atherton Mill in Charlotte’s Southend District. Each driver received a wild card at the pub.

While federal funding is set aside for cancer research, only 2 percent of those funds are directed to children’s cancer, according to CURE Childhood Cancer’s website.

Lunney’s desire to support a worthwhile cause with driving started in 2011 when he drove his classic MGB more than 7,500 miles from Ocean City, Md., to Sacramento, Calif., and finally to San Francisco to raise nearly $10,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association.

At that time, Lunney’s mother had Alzheimer’s disease and his daughter worked for the Alzheimer’s Association. He has done many other charitable drives throughout the years.

Since both of his parents passed away a few years ago, Lunney said he has been looking for a need his drives could support. He learned about a 13-year-old Sherrills Ford resident who attends his church – St. Peter By-The-Lake Episcopal in Denver – and had been diagnosed with leukemia.

“It’s been devastating for the family, but she’s doing OK,” he said.

Lunney said he found CURE Childhood Cancer through a friend. With September being National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, he said the timing to support the organization was perfect.

“It just clicked for me,” he said.

Amanda Harris is as freelance writer: