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Two P.E.I. men organize a car meet in Charlottetown for friend with terminal cancer

Jesse Crockett sits on the hood of his 1996 Acura Integra sedan, the only car he and his best friend Will MacLeod got to work on together.
Jesse Crockett sits on the hood of his 1996 Acura Integra sedan, the only car he and his best friend Will MacLeod got to work on together. - Michael Robar
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Jesse Crockett describes his best friend Will MacLeod with two words: class clown.

The 20-year-olds have been friends since Crockett moved to Charlottetown in Grade 5, bonding over a shared love of wrestling and cars.

While they wrestled together in school, it wasn’t until recently they were able to, unexpectedly, work on a car together.

It meant the world to both young men, as MacLeod is in palliative care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with stage four cancer, said Crockett.

“He asked me to start (the car) up for him because he hadn’t seen it and it wouldn’t start," he said. "We just kind of started tinkering around a little bit. It was a very emotional moment. It’s definitely one that I’ll keep for a while.”

In an effort to brighten his friend’s spirits, Crockett turned to Facebook.

Jesse Crockett, left, visits his friend Will MacLeod at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where MacLeod is in palliative care with stage IV cancer.
Jesse Crockett, left, visits his friend Will MacLeod at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where MacLeod is in palliative care with stage IV cancer.

The meet

Crockett, a mechanic at his stepfather's Charlottetown auto-body shop, posted a message in a local car culture group he’s part of, asking if anyone would be interested in taking a drive by palliative care for MacLeod.

“He loves anything loud, so just a few cars would make his day and I thought maybe five or 10 cars might show up.”

Then, Austin Mackinnon, a member of the group, who Crockett had never met, reached out wanting to help.

Mackinnon, 21, is a photographer who knew MacLeod when they were kids. Cancer is a subject close to his heart, as his grandmother recently recovered from her own bout with the disease.

When he saw Crockett’s post, he knew he had to help, he said.

“Unfortunately, Will doesn’t have a lot of time left, so I figured if we can get something quickly that he can see and make his last days better, that’s the big thing.”

So, Mackinnon created a Facebook event on Saturday and is organizing the meet for Sunday, Oct. 4.


Need to know

A car meet for Will MacLeod is scheduled for Oct. 4. Those attending are asked to meet at the parking lot across from 219 Brackley Point Rd. and be ready to leave at 12:45 p.m. The group is expected to arrive at palliative care around 1 p.m. 
For more information check out the Facebook event


On Sunday, 97 people responded they were attending.

Crockett still can’t believe it.

“It’s very surreal for me because all I wanted as just a few fellas to cruise by for my friend. I never thought it would turn into an actual car meet.”

Mackinnon is just happy to help.

“It’s not something I ever really thought I would do, but when I saw the opportunity I just kind of jumped on it.”

Jesse Crockett looks under the hood of his 1996 Acura Integra sedan as he explains how he and his friend Will MacLeod got it running again.
Jesse Crockett looks under the hood of his 1996 Acura Integra sedan as he explains how he and his friend Will MacLeod got it running again.

Escort

While Crockett and Mackinnon didn’t expect the event to get so big, they are prepared to modify it however they need to if coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) restrictions cause problems.

Mackinnon has reached out to Charlottetown police, hoping they will provide an escort and possibly the vintage police cruiser.

Mackinnon also has plans to take photos for the family and expects to have something in place for those wishing to donate to MacLeod’s family.

In the meantime, Crockett will continue his daily visits with MacLeod, reminiscing, watching movies, eating pizza and enjoying the time and laughs he has left with his friend.

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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