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Car restoration company raises funds for Progeria

May 9, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The owner of a classic car restoration business believes in giving back, and those he gives to are children with a genetic disorder that ages them way before their time.

And when you saw the cars lined up along U.S. 41 near Mike Case's C.A.R.S. Classic Car Restoration Specialists on Tamiami Trail in North Fort Myers on the first Thursday of the month for an open house barbecue, you knew he meant it.

Case raised more than $12,000 for children with a rare genetic disorder that causes premature aging during a six-month fundraising campaign that ran from November to April; they are now done for the off-season.

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Mike Case’s C.A.R.S. Classic Car Restoration Specialists on Tamiami Trail in North Fort Myers raised more than $12,000 for Progeria, a genetic disorder affecting children, during a six-month fundraising campaign that ran from November to April.


Case and C.A.R.S. held a barbecue and gave tours at his classic car shop and his 33,000-square-foot museum of gas, oil and car memorabilia.

What started years ago as a few friends getting together has turned into a huge event, as hundreds would show up for this monthly event.

Case said he started doing this about 10 years ago when he decided to find a primary charity to which to donate.

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"We had been doing things with the veterans foundations, churches and other organizations. Then I met Chip Foose, a famous car designer, who had a family member with Progeria," Case said. "We talked about doing a support program for Progeria."

It started with a hot dog lunch on Fridays that would attract a handful of people, but that became difficult with a shop of its size. They went to once a month about five years ago and, with the help of the museum, the event took off.

"We would get 20 people, then it grew to 50, and soon we couldn't accommodate them in the museum. So, we started doing it in the shop, and it kept growing," Case said. "Now, during season, we start with 150 in November and by the end we had more than 300 people."

The event brought so many people that Case had to enlist the help of the golf cart company across the street to bring the people back and forth with cars lined up from Sabal Springs to Publix.

Case would raise funds with the event and through the museum via voluntary donations. He would also feature honored guests, such as the director of the Progeria Foundation.

Of course, the hot dogs, pulled pork, homemade coleslaw, cookies and soda didn't hurt either, as many car club members who winter in the area would come.

One from Rochester, N.Y. gave $120 and a possible event for Progeria when they get home. Case said he has enlisted the help of these clubs to do smaller events.

"We have some car clubs in Michigan interested in doing something there, so we've set a template. In the future, we're going to contact car organizations in Florida and see if we can get them," Case said. "We've had 35 clubs who have done an open house here."

Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome is a rare, fatal genetic condition that accelerates aging in children. It affects only one in 4 million newborns, which means about 350 to 400 children are affected worldwide.

Classic Car Restoration Specialists is at 17570 N Tamiami Trail #2,



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