Ellie’s Hats, Childhood Cancer, Cars & Coffee

Ellie’s Hats, Childhood Cancer, Cars & Coffee

Car shows are often much more than horsepower, polished chrome or bucket seats.

A special edition of the Cars & Coffee car show at the Dulles Landing shopping center near South Riding this weekend benefited Ellie’s Hats, a Loudoun based nonprofit organization that offers a variety of support mechanisms to children battling cancer and their families. 

“The whole concept is to raise awareness,” said Jay Coakley, founder of Ellie’s Hats. “This is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and we are excited to be part of any event that can help get the word out.”

Coakley started Ellie’s Hats after meeting a little girl battling cancer who had lost her hair due to chemotherapy treatments. That is still part of the group’s emphasis, but Coakley said they do anything they can to help families in these situations.

“We have seven or eight families in South Riding and about that many more in Leesburg who are dealing with this,” Coakley said. “We had a driving school that was our patriarch behind the wheel, offering the family rides when needed, and a landscaping company would go over to another family’s house and mow their lawn every weekend. There are lots of other things we do besides just raising money. Even something as small as a gas gift card is very helpful for the families. I was talking to one guy who owns four Shell stations in Loudoun. Right there, he donated $250 worth of gas cards.”

In addition to vintage cars and trucks, custom hot rods, rat rods, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and many newer model vehicles, Sunday’s event featured Star Wars themed vehicles owned by Eric Jacobs, Star Wars characters from the 501st Legion where kids and adults alike took pictures and selfies with popular Star Wars movie characters. There was also a silent and live auction featuring donated items and services from local businesses.

“The car show crowd is a very giving and caring community,” Coakley said. “There are a lot of very good people who want to help causes.”

Coakley said he invited some of the families his organizations helps so community members can learn more about the issue and maybe even find ways they can help.

“A lot of people want to help and they want to donate locally, too, they just have to know about causes like this,” Coakley said. 

Sponsors for the event included The Loudoun Tribune, TX Maxx, Casey’s Automotive, Line-It Protective Coatings, Driven Mobile Electronics, EB3 Motorsports, CMA Enterprise Auto Detailing, Automotive Quality Solutions, NSGB Productions Photography, Powerhouse Suspension, Nupen Landscape Lighting, Pro-Speed Autoworks, VMA Wood Lawn Art and AWS Siding Roofing Gutters.  Car enthusiasts Nick Hopler and Jaque Duffner donated a custom Jeep grill, and Hopler’s hand-made automotive piston-clock sculpture.  Hopler was also the event MC.  Matthew Leech donated several sets of Redskins home game tickets.

Tom Bostic, from the Velocity Channel TV show Junkyard Empire, was dressed as Luke Skywalker today, coming from Maryland with his custom designed replica land speeder to support the event.

“Turnout for the event was tremendous.  We estimate hundreds of show vehicles and over 1,000 visitors,” said Jacobs. “Partnering with The Loudoun Tribune for their donation of space and use of their massive circulation was the right call and their commitment to support causes like this shows where their heart is.”

Joseph Dill
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