Spring Lake girl, auto business team up to raise thousands for Make-A-Wish

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SPRING LAKE, Mich. -- When Steve Dekkenga, the owner of SD Enterprises, decided to organize a car show, he knew he wanted to use the event to pay it forward.

"We didn't want to have a regular car show, so we decided to call it a Car Show for a Cause, explained Dekkenga. "Decided that we needed to have something special."

The auto shop, which specializes in the custom airbrush and painting of high end drag race cars, will host anywhere from 250 to 350 cars for the event. Dekkenga quickly decided the cause would be the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"I have two nephews who benefited from [Make-A-Wish] years ago. It's such an amazing organization, and we want to give back."

As Dekkenga began organizing the show, he soon learned one of the biggest fundraisers for the group was also in Spring Lake. Aubrey Cohoon, 11, has raised nearly $20,000 dollars for Make-A-Wish since January 2014. FOX 17 featured Cohoon in May as a Pay it Forward Person of the Month for her efforts.

A worker at SD Enterprises saw a recent article in the newspaper about Cohoon and decided to contact her family.

"They just felt they needed to connect with us and wanted Aubrey's help," Nicole Cohoon, Aubrey's mother, told FOX 17 News. "Within the week, we were here meeting them."

Aubrey added, "I thought it was really cool for them to do that."

Dekkenga and Aubrey have teamed up to make the event a success. Dekkenga expects to bring in anywhere from $10,000- $15,000 for Make-A-Wish during the event. He has invited Aubrey to sell Make-A-Wish bracelets during the car show as well.

"It's going be a fun day to raise money for Make-A-Wish," he said. "It's not a competition. It's all going to the same spot, so we're just going to have a great time with that."

Make-A-Wish Michigan is on track to grant the the wishes of more than 400 kids with life-threatening medical conditions in 2015 alone.

"It's just incredible to see all the work of a little girl inspiring both businesses and organizations to get involved," said Ellie Wilcox with Make-A-Wish Michigan. "What I love about the car show is it's going to reach a whole new audience for us. We need support like this from our community."

Dekkenga said crowds can expect a silent auction, live music, and much more at the event. "I think you'll see a little of everything here: some high end race cars, and you're going to see some cars with high end airbrush, and high end engines in them. A lot of stuff that's truly special."

Car Show for a Cause will take place at SD Enterprises, 432 Carmen Dr in Spring Lake, on Saturday, August 29, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Cars can still be registered for the show on the day of the event for $12.

Meanwhile, Cohoon is continuing to raise money for Make-A-Wish. She has organized a team for the upcoming Walk For Wishes in Grand Rapids next month. Several businesses have also pitched in to help with her efforts:

  • Nature's Envy Day Spa in Grand Haven is donating $1 for every new Facebook like up to $300. The salon is also running a special through September 11th for $15 Botanical Hair Treatments with 100% of proceeds going to Team Aubrey for the Walk for Wishes. They have set a goal to do 7 treatments a day and if their goal is reached, they will be donating roughly $3,000.
  • Eastern Floral locations in Grand Rapids, Holland and Grand Haven are selling the Make-A-Wish stars to their customers.
  • Brew House of Muskegon is also selling Make-A-Wish stars to help Team Aubrey.

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