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Don Cherry donated his beloved 1997 Yukon SUV to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, which resells old vehicles or scraps them for parts.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

The Donor: Don Cherry

The Gift: A 1997 Yukon SUV

The Cause: The Kidney Foundation of Canada

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The Reason: To raise awareness about organ donation

When Don Cherry's beloved 1997 Yukon SUV finally gave up, he didn't want to just send it to the scrap yard.

"I bought it for my daughter brand new," the Toronto-based hockey broadcaster said. "And she drove it for a while. Then my son drove it for quite a while, then I drove it for quite a while, and then my grandson drove it for quite a while."

By then the vehicle had more than 300,000 kilometres on it. "I thought, 'Well, it's got to go' and it's kind of sad. I'm one of those guys that fall in love with cars," Mr. Cherry said. "I thought, 'Now how can I have this SUV, my beauty, go out in style?' And I thought, why not go to the kidney car program and have it go that way?"

Mr. Cherry donated the car to the Kidney Foundation of Canada, which resells used cars or sends them for recycling. The program raises about $2.5-million annually for the foundation and the money is used to fund various activities and raise awareness of organ donation.

Mr. Cherry has a personal connection to kidney disease. In the 1970s, while he was coaching the Boston Bruins, his son, Tim, developed kidney failure and was on dialysis. His sister, Cindy, eventually donated one of her kidneys. Both have been healthy since, and Tim now produces most of his father's popular hockey videos. Mr. Cherry said he hopes that by donating his vehicle, he will send a message about the importance of organ donations.

So what is he driving now? A 1993 Ford truck and two 1983 Mark VI Lincoln Continentals. "They have grown old with me," he said. "I'm going to keep them for a while. When they go, I go – or I go, they go."

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pwaldie@globeandmail.com

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