Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award Nominee - Best in Show
Meet Sandy Kane Of Bernco Specialty Advertising
For the past nine years, Sandy Kane, owner of Bernco Specialty Advertising (asi/138300) in Jericho, NY, has counted himself lucky enough to be a survivor of prostate cancer. Now, his mission has become quite simple: Get men tested for prostate cancer. To do so, he combines seriousness and fun with a nonprofit car show on Long Island every September that gives men the opportunity to be tested for free and show off their classic rides.
"I wanted to do something as a survivor," says Kane. "Plus, I had experience with charitable events as a SAAGNY Foundation board member." A SPEED Channel broadcast about a motor fan who founded the first Cruizin' For A Cure car show after her husband died of prostate cancer inspired Kane to contact the California woman, who subsequently licensed him the name. While several of the shows are held around the country each year, Kane holds the LI Cruizin' For A Cure every second Sunday of September in Hicksville, NY, in honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
In addition to the tests, which are administered under HIPAA privacy guidelines, "we have kids' activities, a concert, food, raffles, vendors and of course cars," says Kane. "We also bring in a Da Vinci surgical robot that people can take turns operating." The community provides as well – Kane receives pro bono work from a local law firm and several ad agencies, in addition to a CPA who happens to be both a prostate cancer survivor and car enthusiast. Boy Scouts volunteer their time and earn merit badges.
Kane also receives a little help from industry friends. Rhonda Blum, promotional consultant at Motivators Inc. (asi/277780), says she's known Kane for about 30 years, and first met him when they volunteered together for the SAAGNY Foundation. Today she is the Foundation's chairperson. "It's a very organized and unbelievable event," she says. "It's just a really fun day, very upbeat. I've done pretty much anything Sandy asks me to do, including selling raffle tickets dressed as a '50s girl."
Joel Schaffer, owner of Soundline (asi/88241), has become closely involved with Kane's event. "He took a notion and made it a fantastic event," says Schaffer. "He's now expanding his pool of volunteers to insure it outlives him. When the show ends, he always says, ‘That's it, I can't do this anymore.' A week later he's planning for the next one."
Of course, Kane's friends continue to speak to the hard work and dedication of the event's founder. "Sandy is truly to be admired for his tireless effort to make this one of the largest and best-run car shows in the tri-state area," says Tom Rondi, independent advertising counselor for Geiger (asi/202900). "His work ethic is an inspiration to all the volunteers. When Sandy created the show, there wasn't really anything going on in the way of prostate cancer awareness. It's an excellent way to bring awareness to the community."
Kane believes in providing this yearly opportunity for men to be tested, because otherwise, he says, they'll find every excuse not to do so. While the tendency to balk at the screening is frustrating, it also spurs on Kane's motivation to put on the event. "It's something men don't want to talk about," he explains. "They don't want to even hear the word prostate because they're afraid of what it means. Surgery is becoming less invasive, and diagnosis and mortality numbers can be cut down through testing. We have to spread the word."
For more information on LI Cruizin' For A Cure, visit www.licruizinforacure.com.