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Car show to help transplant patient

WINDER - Born with end stage cardiomyopathy in 2003, six-year-old Lance Witt had lifesaving heart transplant surgery June 29.

Having spent 92 days in an Atlanta hospital earlier this year, Witt went home Aug. 1 and continues to grow stronger by the day. He even goes for a checkup this coming week to make sure the heart isn't being rejected.

With the cost of organ transplants sometimes exceeding $500,000, many transplant patients struggle to meet the financial obligations for the surgery itself or for the expenses incurred afterward.

Even with health insurance, this has been the case for Witt's family, and that's where the nonprofit Winder Dixie Cruisers come in.

They've been in existence for 15 years and their members all share a common interest in the restoration and preservation of classic cars and trucks.

To celebrate the group's love of the automotive world and in an attempt to raise money for the Witt family, the Dixie Cruisers will host a benefit car show from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Holly Hill Mall.

At 8:30 p.m., Lance will even give out the "Lance Choice Award" to his favorite vehicle.

According to volunteer Wanda Ramey, after Lance's surgery the Witt family contacted the nonprofit Children's Organ Transplant Association and this is the group helping the Witts raise funds to pay for things their insurance wouldn't. They're estimating Winder-area residents together will raise $100,000.

The transplant association has also set up a Web site for Lance where interested volunteers can go for more information. The site also lists how those interested can make a donation to Witt's cause. Visit the Web site at www.cotaforlancew.com or call Ramey for additional information at 770-338-2567.

In a Wednesday blog posting, Lance's mother, Christina, wrote, "We are doing great and making it day by day. We are all so excited about the car show coming up on the 26th."