The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 19, 2014

Mustang lovers everywhere plan to honor Eli Williams

By Lora Scripps

ATHENS — Eli Williams, 9, is a Mustang man. And he is in good company.

This Saturday, there will be a gathering of like minds when friends display their nostalgic Mustangs bearing signature trademarks and iconic history at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church — all in Eli’s honor.

It’s an event that Lawrence Taylor-Duncan and members of the Limestone County Mustang Club devised after hearing Eli’s story.

The young Athens Bible School student is fighting cancer.

He was diagnosed Dec. 29, 2011, with high-risk medulloblastoma, a fast-growing, high-grade brain tumor.

Eli underwent therapy as a patient at St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. His cancer went into remission. However, in December — a day after his birthday — he found out his cancer has relapsed.

Lawrence, chief technology engineer and senior vice president of Techni-Core in Huntsville, was talking with a client when he first heard Eli’s story. The client, Patti Baker, knew Lawrence had a Shelby Mustang. What she might not have known was Lawrence was a member of the Limestone County and Rocket City Mustang clubs.

Lawrence approached Joseph Scott, president of the Limestone County Mustang Club, with an idea for a car show.

Joseph was all for it and that is when plans were to put together a “very informal mini car show” so Eli could see all the Mustangs up close and personal.

When news spread about the club’s intention, folks from a number of local and national clubs started calling to be a part of the event.  “Rocket City Mustang Club and other clubs got wind of it,” Lawrence said, adding people told him they were coming from Nashville, Shelbyville, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and a number of other places to be a part of the event. “It kept growing and growing. There has been a whole outpouring of support.”

Even the Mustang Club of America contacted Joseph with hopes of being involved and those who can’t make it have made plans to send Mustang-related gifts to Eli.

The show has grown to become the “Eli Williams Mustangs and Muscle Car Show.” The event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lindsay Lane Baptist Church at 1300 Lindsay Lane S. in Athens.

“We are very excited to take part in this now large event,” Joseph said. “However, let’s all keep in mind the real reason we are doing this show — for Eli.”

On Thursday, Lawrence visited Eli and his family and brought along his 202 mph 2013 Shelby GT500.

Eli was a bit shy at first, according to Lawrence. But, when he heard the engine start up he had a big grin on his face.

Eli sported a Carroll Shelby hat that Lawrence gave him and hopped inside the Shelby. “I took him and his mom Kristie for a gentle spin round the block,” Lawrence said.

The Williams are looking forward to Saturday.

No doubt, Joseph is excited about the event as well. “I can’t wait to see his face light up as he looks at all the cars,” he said. “We have been working closely with his mom to make sure that the family is good with all the changes and the larger number of cars that may show up.

“They are excited and welcome everyone.”

In the event of inclement weather or if Eli is too unwell to participate, the Limestone County Mustang Club will notify everyone in advance and will reschedule accordingly.

Donation buckets will be available for anyone who would like to help the Williams family with Eli’s medical expenses. The car show is free and all donations will be given to the family.

Kristie told Lawrence she also hopes to purchase a brick for the sidewalk at St. Jude with “In honor of Eli from Mustang lovers everywhere” or “something like that.”