Camp Quality's esCarpade comes through Forbes

Around 60 highly decorated cars and their drivers stopped in Forbes overnight last Monday as part of esCarpade, a 2300km journey around NSW.

One of Camp Quality's biggest fundraising events, esCarpade is aiming to raise one million dollars for kids facing cancer.

After being postponed the last two years, the convoy of 60 decorated cars and costumed drivers took the show on the road from April 3-9, stopping in Forbes on Monday.

Starting in Albury, they passed through Cootamundra and Forbes before heading on to stop in Mudgee, Coonabarabran, Armidale and ending up at Coffs Harbour, stopping at a number of other towns on the way.

Event Coordinator Rachel Gibbeson said that this event has been a bit smaller, with only 60 drivers, including official cars.

Ms Gibbeson said this is still an incredible outcome considering the last two and a half years.

The slightly smaller amount of entrants this year has not dampened their fundraising, having raised just under $950,000 by Tuesday morning, well on their way to their $1 million goal.

"It's been an incredible journey and the entrants are doing extremely well with their fundraising," Ms Gibbeson said.

Each of the entrants' cars must be over 30 years old, and the drivers often have dressed in certain themes, matching their cars including the Smurfs and Mario and Luigi.

This year, esCarpade celebrates its 30th year of running and raising funds for Camp Quality.

Ms Gibbeson said the funds raised goes to Camp Quality and helping children aged between 0 and 15 facing cancer to be kids.

Camp Quality also has volunteers joining the event to share with the community about what they do.

Many of the entrants have been participating for a fair amount of time, with some having a personal connection with family or friends who have faced cancer.

Entrant, David Marko has been taking part in esCarpade for 10 years saying it's a great to be back again after a two year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Mr Marko said he has had a personal connection with facing cancer, having lost his daughter Melissa 19 years ago to neuroblastoma.

Melissa's twin brother Jaime then took part in the camps that Camp Quality had run.

Mr Marko said it was a great chance for Jaime to get involved with other children who who had experienced the same loss or were facing the same illness that Melissa had.

Their involvement started at the camps, before Mr Marko's brother in law sourced a 1991 Holden Commodore and helped put decorate it with a Toy Story theme, with a focus on Buzz Lightyear.

Mr Marko said that he and four friends have been involved in driving the car over the last 10 years, often dressing up as Toy Story characters.

He said the car's theme of Toy Story came about due to his daughter's love of the movie while in hospital.

Mr Marko said the Buzz Lightyear is the real theme of the car, with a tag line of 'Buzz Like You', which is how Melissa had pronounced the name when she was young,

"It is a community event. It's really an opportunity for people that who have either experienced similar things to me or have friends and family that have, to get together and contribute to a great cause," he said.

"What we really enjoy is visiting different towns and making a difference to the community and raising the profile of Camp Quality."

He is joined by other entrants such as Marcus Hughes, who, with his wife have been involved with the charity drive for seven years.

"It's been an interesting thing with COVID. We were meant to go in 2020, but of course that got cancelled, then in 2021, but that got slid to April," he said.

Mr Hughes said that they included their 2020 involvement in their seven year involvement, because they managed to fundraise that year despite not hitting the road that year.

Mr Hughes also has a personal connection with Camp Quality and facing cancer, losing his son Daniel, to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of seven.

Daniel was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2000, when he was two and a half.

They spent five years in the hospital system at that stage, going through chemotherapy before relapsing and passing away in early 2005.

"He had been able to take advantage of some of the things that Camp Quality provided," Mr Hughes said.

"Camp Quality is about supporting the kids and families right now. We got some benefit from Camp Quality. My son was able to go on one camp and he had a great time."

Camp Quality was able to help give Daniel an opportunity to get involved in construction machinery as he absolutely loved the whole process, Mr Hughes said.

Mr Hughes said the kids were able to jump into road rollers, articulated scrapers and and excavator.

"Those sorts of things don't just happen and you need an organisation that's focused on kids and putting the fun in the journey."

After a false start in 2014, where Mr Hughes's friend was going to enter a car in the event, they entered in 2015 with the theme of Mario and Luigi, with Mr Hughes' wife Marg Hughes taking on the theme of Princess Peach.

After that first event, Mr Hughes said he was hooked and bought his current car and modified it to fit in with the theme, as well as upgrading the engine and headlights.

To find out more or to donate to the cause go online to

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