The Story

In September of 2010, Gilles went to a dealership to purchase a bare-bones Audi station wagon, but something else at the dealership caught his eye: a brand new Porsche Panamera. Dark blue. Metallic paint. Cream interior. This machine was built for him. Gilles took the Panamera home and a year later he still loved driving that car.

Shortly thereafter, in March of 2012, he was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a terminal neurological disease for which no cure exists. He battled the disease valiantly, determined to spend his remaining time doing the things that he loved – spending time with his family and friends, sailing on his sailboat, Ker Avel, eating exceptional foods, drinking fine wines and doing as much laughing as possible.

 

A few days after Thanksgiving, on November 26th 2012, the battle ended.

 

After his passing, his wife Christine and his son Gary contacted Porsche Financial to find out what they were supposed to do with the car. There were still ten months remaining on the lease, and it was of little use now that its driver had passed. At first they were told that the car could be returned early under the “Hardship Clause” in the agreement.

However…

After a further scrutiny into the lease documentation, Porsche Financial let them know that this clause would not apply. Because Gilles had leased the car and appointed a co-signee, they would be forced to either keep the car until the end of the lease or return it early and pay a fee amounting to double the sum of the remaining lease payments.

The decision was obvious: drive that beast to the bitter last mile. The thought of having to pay Porsche for a car that sits around unused, and return it 10,000 miles short of what was allotted in its lease period was absurd. Why grant Porsche such a beautiful lease return when they refused to honor the hardship clause, if even for a little dose of humanity? Anger grew and an idea surfaced.

The lease on the Panamera ends in September, and with 10,000 miles left, what better way to honor Gilles’ memory than to take the car that brought him so much joy, and fill it with friendship and laughter? The same contagious and very special laughter Gilles brought to the world every day. It was time to turn a “hardship” into a “good-ship”.

Gilles also loved an adventure.  And that is exactly what The PanAmerica is.

Despite the sadness and the loss, Gilles and his family knew that they were extremely fortunate: they were able to shoulder the astronomical costs which are associated with the equipment ALS patients need to survive and live as comfortably as possible.

The ALS Association works hard to raise awareness, fund research, and most importantly, help families deal with the diagnosis both emotionally and financially.

The Pan America. 10,000 miles, 33 states, 4 friends, and 1 car… for a cause.

27 thoughts on “The Story

  1. My friend was just driving next to you and had be look up why someone would put stickers all over a Porsche.. and awesome story! Such a great cause and thank you for dedicating your summer to raise money for it!

    • Thanks Emily! Yeah, our 2-weeks of allotted vacation days are gone, but hey… every mile was worth it!

  2. Driving to Minnesota with my boyfriend and we were just passed by the panamera on 94W in Wisconsin! Had to look up the car and think what you’re doing is great! Safe travels!

    • Thanks for checking us out Kelsey!

      Trying to raise awareness for a disease with no cure is much easier in a seafoam green Porsche with logos plastered all over it.

  3. Just saw the car driving through Ontario,Canada. Piqued my interest and had to look it up! Love the story boys!

    • Thank so much. Canada was beautiful and we loved the fact that everyone drives so well!

  4. I saw the car fly past me on hwy 85 in South Carolina. This is a nice tribute to Giles, and an awesome adventure to remember him by, have fun and safe travels!

  5. Une grande admiration pour cette magnifique aventure que vous allez nous faire vivre les gars.Quel bel hommage pour Gilles!!!

  6. Gary, il s’agit a chaque etape, de mourir a soi pour renaitre dans l’autre: l’enfant que tu as ete, l’adulte que tu es devenu, le vieillard que tu deviendras, te renaitra plus savant, plus fort, plus heureux parce que plus etre. Ton papa serait fier de toi.
    PRM.

  7. Very inspiring ! La vie n’est pas un long fleuve tranquile mais belle aventure a vivre pleinement, Gilles will be with you all the way , for sure! Bon voyage!

  8. Vas y coco … a fond sur la pedale de droite, … dans la pure lignee du grand Galerne !!
    that s ZE exact Galerne way of life !! .

  9. Une grande idee, bravo! Maintenant il faut prévoir une bouteille de Bordeaux pour chaque arrêt, un cigare par jour, pas de brocoli ou de cinamon dans aucun des repas et une bouteille de Veuve a l arrivée! Bonne route.

  10. Chacun se demande, comment nous continuons à exister après notre départ et de quelle manière … Je pense que notre existence change juste de matière, nous passons du monde physique au monde intellectuel. L’existence dans la mémoire. Si la prise de contact reste une énigme, la présence est réelle.
    Regarde, Gilles !

  11. Tough choice Gary, drive the beast or enjoy la bouteille de rouge at the back, Here to the Ministre de l’Oenologie on the Todos Santos beach in the Sea of Cortez!

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