Wheels4Kids-4Maci benefit Cruise-In


Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

Maci Winebarger continues to press on during her battle with a brain tumor. She plans to be at the Wheels4Kids-4Maci Cruise-In on September 30 at the Salem Civic Center to greet everyone.

Without hesitation, another benefit is scheduled by the Wheels4Kids. “We have kids here in Craig that really hurt,” founder Rick Dudding shared. “I suffered from a brain injury when a drunk driver ran into my truck over 22 years ago, so I understand what it feels like when you are use to being a normal person and within seconds, your whole life changes.”

Maci Winebarger, a once young and vibrant six-year-old, had discovered the walk of a different life, since being diagnosed with a tumor on the end of her brain.

Her parents have been there through all of her surgeries, therapies and myriad of tests. At the beginning, she was given little chance to live, but it seems Maci has a different view than the doctors for the last several years.

For anyone who has met Maci, though she has to be transported by someone in her wheelchair, one quickly learns that she is extremely attentive to all that is going on. “I have never met anyone with such a big heart,” one community member shared. “I was talking with her and she laid her hand on me and started praying for me. I was so touched that all I could do was cry.”

According to her parents, Maci continues to have a very positive attitude during all of her tests and treatments. In August she flew to Fort Worth and had some adjustments to her neurotransmitter with medication changes as well. “It’s a little nerve racking flying as she cannot go through the metal detector, but that’s just me being over protective,” her mom shared. She will not have to go back until next fall as long as all goes well.

Her next appointment is in November for a week-and-a-half, where she will have to go to Baltimore for another MRI. “They want to make sure there are no changes with the tumor,” her mom said. This is the first time since her last chemo that she has gone six months without checking the tumor. She will have other appointments as well, hoping to get them all in so they do not have to travel again until Spring.

“By God’s grace, she has survived major surgery, removing as much of the tumor as they could, spent three-and-a-half months recovering and in rehab, has endured around 35 total MRIs, 15 months of chemotherapy and another 13 months of chemo two years later,” her mom, Shari explained. “She also has PT and OT at Carilion Pediatric Therapy and does therapeutic horse riding every week at Healing Strides.”

Someone shared that Maci still has hopes to walk again on her own and be the ‘free girl’ that resides still in her heart.

Dudding contacted some of his car show buddies, and the original Cruise-In scheduled for September 23 at Lowes, had to be changed to the Salem Civic Center on September 30, from 3-9 p.m.

“We feel this will turn out really good there,” Dudding shared. “The whole team at the Civic Center is behind us trying to help raise money for Maci.”

“We are honored that Rick would think of Maci especially given the health issues he faces as well,” Maci’s parents shared. “He is overlooking his health issues to care of others.”

Some of Dudding’s friends from Salem’s Hot Rod and Honey’s Car Club will also be assisting him. “We’re very glad to be able to help out the young lady with the problem she is having in her life right now,” Steve Nichols from the club shared.

“We are hoping for a great turnout!” Dudding exclaimed. “There are a lot of people out there willing to help one another; we just have to let them know where the need is.” Maci is excited and “plans to be there to meet everyone”, she said.

Maci’s parents shared that they are humbled and overwhelmed by the care and love that is being shown to Maci. “We appreciate the monetary donation but even more the time and prayers each person is giving toward her,” they said. “All the love, prayers and energy are what have pulled her through this thing that didn’t look like she would survive.”

“If anyone would like to donate baked foods, premade foods canned drinks for us to sell, that would be great as well,” they said. “We are hoping that people can donate cakes, pies, sandwiches, cookies, drinks and anything premade we can sell to help Maci out.”

If you cannot bring the food or drink items to the Salem Civic Center, you may drop them off at Dudding or Nichols homes on Friday, September 29, or by 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

All proceeds will be given directly to Maci and her family. Checks can be written to Maci or Shari Winebarger. There will also be a 50/50 drawing as well with very nice donated items raffled off.

For more information, contact Rick Dudding (540) 330-2234 or Steve Nichols (540) 293-2099. “We hope to help Maci and her family to help curb the hardship they are experiencing,” Dudding said.