Classic Car Cruise Remembers Founder’s Wife
“Shelley, I need to do something to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis.”
It was 2013 and Adam and Shelley Muir had been through the ringer. Adam had recently been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). A year earlier, the two of them had been through radiation therapy together, to try to deal with their respective cancers, while parenting their two pre-school boys.
As if to add insult to injury, hard on the heels of the couple’s cancer diagnoses came Adam’s diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, an incurable, progressive disease which attacks the body’s nervous system.
Adam is a man unwilling to sit around and do nothing. He’d previously been an enthusiastic rally driver, a keen sportsman and photographer and was working hard to support his young family, running his home security business.
After the initial the shock of finding out he had MS, Adam started researching the disease. It didn’t take him long to discover multiple sclerosis affects one in every thousand New Zealanders and an estimated 2.3 million people worldwide. Research is constantly being carried out to try to understand the cause of the disease and find a cure, most notably at the Mulligan Institute based in Christchurch.
“I remember hearing that the Mulligan Institute needed money for a trial they wanted to do,” says Adam. “I said to Shelley, ‘I’m going to figure out a way to raise money to help with the research.’”
Adam had missed out on attending Beach Hop that year, the classic car cruise in Whitianga, as he had been in hospital recovering from an operation to successfully remove his cancer. But an idea had entered his mind. He and Shelley came up with a plan to host their own classic car cruise, from Hamilton to the West Coast inlet of Kawhia.
On the 3rd of November 2013, the first Kawhia Cruise took place, with 100 attendees raising $5,000 towards Multiple Sclerosis research.
The Kawhia Cruise has now become an annual fixture, on the second Sunday of November. Participation has increased each year, with classic cars, motorbikes, passengers and vehicles of all types enjoying the drive to Kawhia, ending in an afternoon of entertainment, including a live band, at the Kawhia Domain. Each year the cruise is dedicated to the memory of Shelley Muir, who lived to see the dream come to fruition and attended the first cruise with her husband and sons.
“Shell would be really proud to know the cruise has turned into such a success and that her memory lives on as a legacy of something we started together.”
Sometimes the challenges of such trauma can tear a couple apart, sometimes it makes them stronger. For Adam and Shelley, supporting each other created a strong partnership which lasted until the end, and Shelley is remembered fondly every year.
The Kawhia Cruise 2020 will be held on 8 November, starting at the Jukebox Diner in Hamilton. Entry is by donation and all proceeds go MS Waikato.
More information can be found on the Kawhia Cruise Facebook page.