Published Date Written by Jim Lewis
Car restorers see Kuppy’s Cruise-in as a chance to show off their prized vehicles. Cindy Brett saw it as a chance to give back to society what doctors gave to her – health.
She drove her tiny black Mercedes-Benz Smart Passion Cabriolet – a year old, a baby compared to the vintage muscle cars, coupes and motorcycles that lined Middletown’s streets during the Cruise-in on Thursday, May 30 – to a spot along the curb on South Union, and parked.
She decorated it with pink frills to represent breast cancer awareness – she is a survivor, beating it with the help of local doctors – and preached to young women who walked by about the importance of self-exams. It is how Brett, a retired Army musician, first discovered that she had breast cancer.
What better place to spread the word than the Cruise-in, held annually to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, a Hershey charity that provides financial assistance to the families of children battling cancer. Thankfully, Brett’s Smart car, with its interchangeable outer panels, is quirky enough to appear in a show catering to car enthusiasts.
“People don’t realize breast cancer isn’t just happening to my-age people – girls as young as 21 have had breast cancer,’’ said Brett, who lives with her husband in a camper at a local camp site through the summer and returns to her home in Florida for the winter.
The Cruise-in drew a record 138 vehicles this year, stretching along South Union from Emaus Street to the railroad overpass, and down Brown Street, surrounding Kuppy’s Diner on two sides.
More than $11,000 was raised, with more donations still coming in, according to Carol Kupp, who has organized the event.
Sunny weather drew a variety of cars, Mustangs of many colors, coupes with shiny new metallic coats of paint, trucks and Beetles and muscle cars. Remember your brother’s old Chevy Nova? He should have kept it and restored it – there were a couple at the Cruise-in.
Brett was eating breakfast at Kuppy’s one morning when she told her story to the owners. Why not drive your Smart car into town and be a part of the show, they suggested.
“The people here are very gracious,’’ said Brett.
For Karen Clark, who lost a bid for a Middletown Borough Council seat in the primary election nine days before, the Cruise-in offered some consolation: She got to drive a friend’s 1967 Mustang to the show. “I love it,’’ said Clark, whose son works with the car’s owner at a local garage.