New Brunswick

Teen with inoperable brain tumour has dream come true at Moncton car show

A young man with an inoperable brain tumour achieved his dream of bringing his restored 1954 Chevy to New Brunswick for the Atlantic Nationals in Moncton, one of North America's top car shows.

Jeremy Cassidy, 18, saw the truck of his dreams six years ago on the way back from a chemotherapy treatment

Jeremy Cassidy inside his 1954 restored Chevrolet pickup truck at the Atlantic Nationals in Moncton. (CBC)

A young man with an inoperable brain tumour achieved his dream of bringing his restored 1954 Chevrolet stepside to New Brunswick.

Jeremy Cassidy is an honorary guest at this year's Atlantic Nationals in Moncton, one of North America's top car shows.

It was six years ago that he saw what was then just a beat-up pickup truck on the way back from a chemotherapy treatment.

"The more I started driving around and passing it, I just fell in love with it," said Cassidy, who is from the southeastern Ontario community of Roslin.

Then 12 years old, he ended up buying the truck with his own money.

"It started out as a piece of lawn art that a guy had in his yard," said father Tim Cassidy.

"We brought it home and started working on it right away."

The teenager knew exactly what he wanted the truck to look like.

Back in his hometown of Roslin, Ont., Cassidy had a drawing of what his dream truck would look like when finally restored. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

Six years and countless hours of hard work later, Jeremy was putting his Chevy on the back of a trailer, to drive it the 1,400 kilometres that separated his Ontario hometown from Moncton.

It was down to the wire —  he was still putting on the windshield wipers and peep mirrors as the truck was on the trailer — but it was all worth it.

"Feels amazing," Jeremy said at the car show. "A lot of people like my truck, which is pretty awesome. Means I did good. They say it looks nice, they wish they could have it, so that's pretty special to me."

What started out as a father-son project turned into a much bigger affair when hundreds of people from the "hot rodding" community coast to coast and the U.S. donated parts, time and money.

This Ontario teen bought and restored a 1954 Chevy pickup after seeing it on the way to a chemotherapy appointment. Now he’s a guest of honour at Moncton’s Atlantic Nationals car show. 0:57

For Jeremy, it's been an outlet.

"When I was going through chemo, I'd always go to my truck, and it'd help me take my mind off being sick."

He drove his truck for the first time just last week, and said it was very smooth, although he joked he pressed into the gas so much while driving on the grass it did a burnout.

Cassidy's truck at the 19th Atlantic Nationals in Moncton, where the teen is a guest of honour. (CBC)

"It was all fun and games," he said, adding he planned to keep driving the truck for a long time.

"I'm going to keep driving it no matter what. Going to burn the wheels off, get a new set and do the same thing."

"It was pretty emotional at the time," said father Tim of the first time his son drove it. "Just to see him so happy. It's his dream." 

Jeremy Cassidy and his dad Tim have spent many hours together working on the truck. (Martin Trainor/CBC)

With files from Gabrielle Fahmy and Talia Ricci


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