When the LaFontaine Family heard of how Caden’s Car Show came to be and the smiles the event brought to the faces of the patients at Mott Children’s Hospital – they knew that this was something they needed to be a part of.
Supporting the private car show with people, specialty vehicles and even a real old-fashioned ice cream truck – the LaFontaine’s were proud to join other dedicated supporters to carry on the mission of using the magic of cars to create an extraordinary experience for sick children.
Caden Bowles was a young boy whose passion for cars burned at a level few can match.
He was no average car nut. He would endlessly chatter about cars. He had knowledgeable, thoughtful explanations for his analyses of new product lines and trends in the car industry. He even created his own newsletter during his long days at the hospital – an impressive hand-drawn publication he called “Full Throttle.”
His passion for cars wasn’t the only thing that made him special, though.
Caden was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a condition in which the left side of his heart failed to develop, leaving him essentially with only half a heart.
Caden received a heart transplant at just six weeks old. Then, at age seven, he was diagnosed with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, a type of cancer that, unfortunately, can be one of the side effects of taking immunosuppressant drugs to keep the body from rejecting a new heart.
Always a fighter, Caden beat his cancer. But his battle wasn’t over. After ten years, his transplanted heart began to fail; he needed a new heart. He eventually was listed as highest priority on the transplant list and underwent surgery to get an artificial Berlin Heart to help him while he waited for his heart to become available.
But the wait for a suitable donor was too long. On September 11, 2013, Caden passed away.
In his memory people from all over the country, including the LaFontaine Automotive Family, have joined Team Caden to honor his memory by making a real difference.
Their goals are simple:
- Use the magic of cars to create extraordinary experiences for sick children.
- Increase awareness of the need for organ donation.
- Increase investment in congenital heart research and pediatric heart transplants.
Since 1980, the LaFontaine Family has made it their mission to build lifelong relationships that strengthen our communities.
We were honored to support Caden’s Car Show and we look forward to being involved with this event in the future. Being able to help make these children smile is something that we won’t soon forget.