Sunday car show a fundraiser for family of ailing 6-year-old

2013-07-13T00:00:00Z 2014-09-05T15:12:27Z Sunday car show a fundraiser for family of ailing 6-year-oldPhil Villarreal Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Owners of dozens of classic and tricked-out cars will converge on a sub sandwich shop parking lot to show off their rides and raise money for a family in need.

More than 120 vehicles from around the state will be on display at the third annual Car Show for Cancer, a fundraiser for the family of 6-year-old Marana boy Moses Thompson, who has an inoperable tumor in his intestinal lining.

The tumor causes complications throughout his body, making it difficult it for him to eat without pain and causing fluid to build up in his legs and feet, sometimes causing lesions. Moses has been to the emergency room 10 times this year, and his family is negotiating with their insurance company over $60,000 in bills.

And these are good times for Moses, said his mother, 26-year-old Tabitha Thompson. Two years ago, when Moses first started showing symptoms, doctors said he had less than a year to live and recommended hospice care. Moses had stopped eating and refused to get out of bed.

"They had given us a pretty grim prognosis," Tabitha said.

After doctors adjusted his morphine treatments to allow him to eat without pain, Moses became more active. He's put on 8 pounds since then to get to his current weight of 48, and remains spirited even when ailing.

"He's doing good right now," Tabitha said. "He's come a long way. He still has the illness, and it has spread before, but he's stable now."

Tabitha and her husband, Lloyd Gilstrap, 37, have taken Moses to more than 20 doctors, none of whom have been able to provide a diagnosis. Tabitha said there is nothing to indicate the tumor is cancerous, although cancer has not been ruled out.

Tabitha stays at home with Moses and her other children, 7-year-old Meredy Thompson and 17-month old Eva Gilstrap. She's also pregnant and due in September. Lloyd works as an insurance sales executive.

She's grateful for the work of neighbor Elliott Crane, 30, the ringleader of a group of friends who operate the informal event. Crane chose the Thompson-Gilstrap family to benefit from this year's car show. He held the first two shows on the University of Arizona campus but moved to the parking lot of Firehouse Subs, 3844 W. River Road, due to cheaper overhead and more space. The show begins at 9 a.m. Sunday.

"We want to make the difference for someone," said Crane, a car enthusiast who works for an educational software company.

In past years, Crane said, the show has raised close to $1,000 - in 2011 for a family of a cancer-stricken child and last year for the nonprofit Relay For Life - and said all proceeds from the show will go to the Thompson-Gilstraps. The money will come from donations and raffles for donated auto products.

Dange Bertoldo, a 27-year-old Iraq veteran and Pima Community College student, is helping Crane run the show.

"It should be just a bunch of people who love cars who get together and want to talk cars," he said. "We're all there, too, of course, to help out Moses."

Tabitha said she's grateful for the fundraising help.

"I think it's really sweet of them," she said. "Of course, we're kind of embarrassed because there's always someone who could kind of use it more. We're shy about asking for help. It's such a blessing."

If you go

• What: Car Show for Cancer.

• When: 9 a.m. Sunday.

• Where: Firehouse Subs, 3844 W. River Road.

• Admission: Free, but donations are accepted.

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or pvillarreal@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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