8/5/2013 - Brock Yates Tribute Fund Formed To Battle Alzheimer's Disease
A fund to honor legendary automotive journalist and Vintage Motorsport columnist Brock Yates has been established under the umbrella of the Alzheimer's Association to honor Yates and advance the fight against the disease. Yates revealed in his Sept/Oct 2010 "Brock Busters" column for VM that he had the disease and that the symptoms were steadily diminishing his ability to write, remember and even function day-to-day.
Yates penned, "Alzheimer's is such an ignoble disease -- tearing pieces of you away until you no longer exist. Understanding that this is now my fate is daunting, but [his wife] Pamela is a fighter..." Vowing to continue writing as long as he was able, Yates continued, "You have all allowed me to flourish in a career not many are blessed to have achieved and while it has been a great ride, I am not simply sitting on my laurels accepting this diagnosis, but doing everything medically possible to fight it."
Yates family friend, Ferrari enthusiast and One Lap of America veteran Doug Beachem established the Brock Yates Tribute Fund on the Alzheimer's Assn. website to raise money and awareness of the disease. The fund site notes, "We will celebrate the 31st anniversary of One Lap of America with this tribute...the mastermind behind the Cannonball Sea-To-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash and One Lap of America, Brock has touched many of us in different ways."
Yates, the author of 13 books, and the progenitor behind the feature films "The Cannonball Run" and "Smokey & The Bandit," was at Car & Driver for four decades (including a stint as editor) until 2006, when he was unceremoniously let go during the mag's economic downturn. He was not formally diagnosed with Alzheimer's until 2007.
All funds contributed in Yates' name is earmarked for the Alzheimer's Assn., not Yates or his family, who receive notification of each charitable contribution. The fund has raised $6,805 to date from 36 donors. To donate, visit: www.Alz.org, or paste this link in your web browser to go directly to the Tribute funding site: http://act.alz.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=1060&pxfid=92686
Photo: Brock Yates and his Cannonballer Dodge Challenger (courtesy CliftonPark.org)