Cruzin' for Life was founded in 2004 by Clifford Labastida. He and his brothers had this brilliant idea to have an alternative way to raise funds to help fight cancer and have fun doing so: cars. Clifford enlisted six other good friends to form the Cruzin' for Life Board of Directors; all of who were either born in or long time Santa Maria residences.
2004 - Our first event was hosted in the parking lot of St Joseph High School, then on to cruise Old Orcutt. We had about 40 cars registered and cruised from Old Broadway to the Jack in the Box and back with just a few cancer survivors. The dinner, hosted at the St Joseph gym had about 250 guests and a Silent Auction. Even though we had little idea of what we were doing and only 3.5 months to plan, we somehow managed to donate $15,000 to American Cancer Society.
2005 - Outgrowing St Joseph's parking lot for the car show we moved to Old Orcutt, using the same cancer survivor cruise route as 2004. Old Orcutt was also the home for our first burn-out contest. With about 300 + spectators we no idea of what a big thing we had started, the annual burn-out contest was official! The dinner that year had about 300 guests, with a Silent & Live Auction, we almost doubled our donation giving American Cancer Society $28,000. 2006 - The car show and cancer survivor cruise were once again hosted in Old Orcutt with close to 100 cruisers this time. We moved the burn-out competition to SM Airport property for safety reasons and good thing because we had close to 1500 spectators! The dinner, still at St. Joseph's gym hosted about 450 guests. Between the day events, dinner and the Silent & Live Auction we almost doubled 2005 with a total donation of $52,000. This was the first year we split the donation between American Cancer Society and the Marian Cancer Care Center.
2007 - Once again out-growing our venue we moved the car show and cancer survivor cruise base to the SM Airport property getting to cruise up and down Broadway with law enforcement escorts closing intersections as the cruisers passed by. The cruisers and cancer survivors had a great time waiving at family and friends as they cruised downtown Santa Maria. Knowing that the burn-out contest was still very popular we moved it to Sunday, and it was attended by over 3000 spectators! The dinner was sold out and then some, it broke our hearts but we actually turned people away for the dinner. The Silent & Live auctions were a huge success again thanks to our generous community. The 3 events grossed just over $100,000, enabling us to donate $40,000 to Marian Cancer Care Center and $30,000 to American Cancer Society, from that $30,000 - $10,000 went towards research and $20,000 went towards the Young Cancer Survivor Scholarship Program.
2008 - Cruzin' for Life moved all 3 events to the SM Fairpark. We also worked with the city to close Broadway, both sides, for our cancer survivor cruise. The Saturday evening dinner/auction took place the weekend after the worst day in the stock market in years, CFL still raised over $100,000 at our Live Auction! In 2008 we donated $100,000. Due to the heart of this community and in spite of the down economy, we donated $100,000 in 2009 as well.
2010 - Cruizin' for Life hosted the 3 successful events at the SM Fairpark again. The cancer survivor cruise was well attended, the dinner/auction sold out and we raised over $100,000 once again! In 2010 we added a donation recipient, Camp Reach for the Stars. This amazing camp host children in SB County with cancer and their families for a weekend of fun, allowing them to forget about their serious health issues for a short time.
2011 - Cruzin' for Life grew once again. We added a Friday evening Meet 'n' Greet for the car enthusiast, carnival games for the kids and a dance with live music from the 60's and 70's featuring Chuck Negron, formerly of Three Dog Night! The Cancer Survivor Car Cruise was thoroughly enjoyed by the cruisers, cancer survivors riding in the cars and the spectators on Broadway. The dinner/auction attended by a sold out crowd of 500 raised over $100,000 bringing the weekend total to a record $207,000. The 2011 donation put us over the $500,000 mark for total donations since Cruzin' for Life's inception.
2012 - This year was an adventure for sure! The CFL Board of Directors thought it would be a great idea to throw a full-on concert Sunday, to the event weekend. We had so much fun (mixed in with a HUGE amount of work) hosting Rockabilly artist Lee Rocker, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame artist Dave Mason, and the VERY entertaining Los Lobos! The Saturday evening dinner was once again a sold out event and the auctions brought in an amazing $91,000!
All funds donated remain local and have helped to fund:
American Cancer Society Young Survivor's Scholarship Fund. This scholarship fund is for college bound students whose parents were dealing with the costs of keeping their child alive. 2006 - 2012 Camp Reach for the Stars. This is a camp for kids and their families who are dealing with cancer. Marian Cancer Care Center. Cancer Patient Outreach Fund. This is a discretionary fund which covers needs that insurance does not, such as transportation & housing while in treatment, mortgage payments, car payments, utility bills, child care, etc. 2013 - Our success continues! Friday night was our first outdoor Meet N Greet. BBQ tickets were pre-sold and live music was provided by 'Freight Train'. The cruisers and car enthusiast loved having the cars on display then hanging out with family and friends, lots of dancers too!
Saturday's cruise hosted a good number of cars, all makes/models, with cancer survivors riding up and down Broadway waiving at the spectators.
Saturday evening dinner/auction was sold out, 4th year in a row! The silent AND Live auction brought in a record amounts enabling us to donate for 2013:
$90,000 to Marian Cancer Care $25,000 to Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties $ 5,000 to American Cancer Society 'Tops for Tots to Teens' $ 3,000 to American Cancer Society 'Road to Recovery' Another awesome year, thank you all for making our success annual!