Chris Sauerbaum, has had his driver's license for 10 years, but he hasn't been able to use it.
Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy, a neurological disorder Sauerbaum had at birth, put him in a wheelchair before he was a teenager. He can drive, but needs a customized vehicle, first.
For years, Sauerbaum, 32, and his wife, Heather Sloat, 29, of York, have been trying to get a vehicle he can drive. But it's expensive.
The couple hopes the Drive For Independence Upshift Summer Bash, an upcoming car show, food truck and vendor event they have planned at Leg Up Farm in East Manchester Township, will help them raise the last $2,000 of the $10,000 down payment they need for a customized vehicle.
As things are now, Sloat, who is Sauerbaum's primary caregiver, drives him wherever he needs to go.
Twice a day, four days a week, Sloat helps Sauerbaum get ready for work. Then she gets him and their 4-year-old twin sons into the family car, a Dodge Nitro, and drives Sauerbaum to Clipper Magazine in Mountville where he works as a graphic designer.
Sauerbaum's shift starts at 4:45 p.m.
Sloat drops her husband off, and turns the car back toward York. After getting through traffic, Sloat usually gets home around 6 p.m.
Before 3 a.m., she loads her children back into the car and drives back to Mountville to get Sauerbaum after his shift ends at 3:15 a.m.
That's a lot of time and work, especially with 4-year-old twins, Sloat said.
"This is definitely about our mobility," Sloat said of the hope to raise funds through the car show event.
But the event also has a romantic element.
"Our relationship kind of started over cars," Sloat said. In 2004, she and Sauerbaum were friends, and went out to a car show and drag races in Ohio with a group of friends.
The Drive For Independence Upshift Summer Bash will be held 10 years after the weekend that Sloat and Sauerbaum started their relationship.
Sloat said the event will be family-friendly, and they plan to bring their children.
The food trucks scheduled to be there are Bountiful Feast, Scoops Ice Cream and Grille, Smoothie King of York, Spectrum Farm to Truck and Sophie's Italian Ice. Some of them have offered to donate a portion of their proceeds to Sloat and Sauerbaum's vehicle fund. Additional vendors and crafters will have wares for sale, and there will be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle.
The car show can accommodate 100 vehicles, and cars, trucks and motorcycles are welcome to register. There will also be prizes for the car show, and the car show participants will be the judges.
Sloat said raising money through the event would change her family's life.
"To have this vehicle means freedom for Chris," she said. "Our goal is for this to be a family event that brings the community together."
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