Inside Columbia


Event to Raise Money for Vincent P. Gurucharri Foundation

By Inside Columbia
crusin' to fight cancer

Photo by Ronnie Boyce 


  • What: Crusin’ To Fight Cancer
  • Where: Plaza Event Center at Parkade, 601 Business Loop 70 W
  • When: Sept. 8-9
  • Cost: FREE
  • Website:

After losing close friends and family to cancer over the years, Danny and Jeanette Nowlin decided to do something to help. “Cancer lays on our hearts so heavily,” Jeanette Nowlin says. “We have seen the horrible things it takes away, families not being able to afford treatment, loss of jobs, loss of homes, and above all, loss of loved ones.”

That’s why they put together the Cruisin’ To Fight Cancer event, which aims to raise money for The Vincent P. Guruchari, MD Foundation. The foundation provides financial assistance to cancer patients undergoing treatment who have financial stress.

Dr. Vincent P. Gurucharri was a well-known surgeon who practiced general and thoracic surgery in BooneCounty from 1980-2003. Karen Graham, a founding board member of the foundation, says Gurucharri was always helping others, so the foundation needed to reflect his generous spirit. “He would do things like pay for someone’s medical bill or buy a prescription for a patient if he knew they couldn’t afford it, just little things like that all the time,” Graham says.

To continue Gurucharri’s legacy, the foundation provides up to $750 per year in assistance. “Whether it’s utilities, child care, car payments, medical bills, pharmacy, anything we can help with,” Graham says. As long as the patient is a Missouri resident receiving treatment in one of the designated area hospitals/clinics, they are eligible for assistance.

In 2006, the foundation helped its first patient. Since then, the foundation has provided more than $1 million in aid to more than 2,100 Missouri residents.

It was in 2016 that Danny and Jeanette Nowlin created the Cruisin’ To Fight Cancer event to further help the foundation’s mission. “We wanted to make sure we were doing something for a foundation that actually was going to help people, not pocket the money,” Jeanette Nowlin says.

This year, the car show will begin Sept. 8 with the in-memory cruise, followed by live music. “The cars cruise the loop; it’s fun to watch the cars leaving and coming back in,” Graham says. On Sept. 9, enjoy a DJ, live music, a live auction, games and other activities for the whole family. The event is free, but participants can make donations throughout, purchase entry to the car show, buy T-shirts or participate in the auction. All the proceeds will go to the Gurucharri Foundation. “Seeing the community come together and support something is wonderful,” Graham says.“When we started this, we said if we could raise $5,000, we would be happy. We are amazed that we are still here and giving out money.

Jeanette Nowlin says the event would not be possible without the help of all the incredible volunteers, including her three granddaughters, who are 8, 9 and 10 years old. “They help every year with preparing and helping with our raffles; they even stay up late helping tag all our raffle items the night before the event.” For more information about the foundation or to donate, visit

Subscribe & Follow