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Auto show to benefit local girl
Event at Fairgrounds set for Saturday at 10 a.m.
Car Show for Web
The 19th Annual Southern Cruisers Auto and Truck Show is set for Saturday at the Kiwanis Fairgrounds. Above, a later model car is enjoyed by several people at the 2009 show. - photo by Herald File

    Vintage vehicle owners can show off their prized cars and trucks to the public this weekend, while also helping out a local family in need.
    The Southern Cruisers will donate all of the proceeds from their 19th Annual Auto and Truck Show Saturday to 12-year-old Amber Wilkerson and her family. Wilkerson suffers from a rare, fast-spreading form of cancer called lymphoblastic leukemia.
    The show begins at 10 a.m. at the Kiwanis-Ogeechee Fairgrounds.
    According to the National Cancer Institute website, acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells, which typically fight infections in the body. The primary treatment for the cancer is chemotherapy.
    Wilkerson, however, has a chromosome defect that causes chemotherapy to be ineffective in the treatment of the disease.
    John Cone, vice president of the Southern Cruisers said that around 160 show cars will be entered into the show, along with arts and crafts and various other vendors. He said it also will be the first year the show offers live music from local bands.
    Cone said the show has raised anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000 for recipients. He said that it depends on how many cars show up and how many people come out to the show.  
    Wilkerson's mother, Lisa Washburn, said that since Amber's diagnosis in January 2009, life has been rough. Wilkerson received a transplant in April 2009, but is still undergoing other treatments.
    “She's doing really good,”  Washburn said. “We're just basically dealing with everything that the chemo and radiation have caused and hoping and praying that she stays in remission.”
    Washburn said that she has not spoken in great detail with the organization about how to spend the money, but did say that they had discussed using it for mortgage and utility payments. She added that the organization had helped her provide Christmas gifts for her children as well.
    At first, Washburn said that she was hesitant to take help from others.
     “My theory on things at first was that I didn't want to ask for help. I felt like maybe there was someone who needed it worse than me,” Washburn said. “Even if things are bad, other people do have it worse.”
    She said that she is grateful for the help.
     “I would like to tell them thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Washburn said. “This is one of the most amazing things. Somebody helping us is amazing to us and we're grateful for any help that we've got from everybody.”
    Washburn said that Amber would attend the show Saturday.
    Gates at the Kiwanis-Ogeechee Fairgrounds open at 10 a.m. Saturday and the show wraps up at 3 p.m. Admission for the show is $3 and kids under the age of 12 can enter for free. For more information, call 764-3523.