FITCHBURG, Wis. – At the opening premier of the film “Ford v Ferrari” on Friday, car enthusiasts joined together at a gala to watch the movie and donate to the gala’s sponsor, Cars Curing Kids.

Cars Curing Kids is an organization that supports research and programs related to childhood diseases.

“We want to do something that’s much more immediate and impactful for kids,” Peter Nichol, a board member of Cars Curing Kids, said. “You give us money (and) we’re going to spend that money in a year to meet our mission.”

Nichol said the organization tends to start out broke each year, since it uses donations quickly in an effort to help children as soon as possible. Cars Curing Kids is run only by volunteers, so all money goes straight to the cause. 

The gala was hosted at New Vision Theatres Fitchburg 18 + IMAX, where about 600 people showed up to fill six theaters. Some participated in a raffle, silent auction or viewed the vintage race cars set up throughout the theater.

The film they watched, “Ford v Ferrari” is about the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans Grand Prix of Endurance, where Ford competed against Ferrari for the winning title. Ford won the race with its GT40 Mk II.

The legendary Ford GT40 was not at the gala, but a replica of it was. The original car’s owner, George Stauffer, was at the gala. He said cars have always been a part of his life.

“Cars have always been important to me,” Stauffer said. “Even in grade school, I was told I was drawing cars instead of listening to teachers.”

Although Stauffer did not compete in the 1966 race himself, he has raced in the past and has driven behind the wheel of the Ford GT40.

“To have 500 horse power at your disposal on a track where there’s no speed limit is — I get goose bumps just thinking about it,” Stauffer said.

The gala ended Friday night, but Cars Curing Kids will continue accepting donations. The organization is also planning upcoming fundraisers for next year, which will again include vintage cars.

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