Tara Carr examined the BMW Ultimate Drive X3 at the BMW Honolulu showroom on Saturday. The vehicle is a fund-raising tool for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Drive for
the cure

Test-drive a BMW and earn cash
for breast cancer research

BMW of Honolulu is planning to take a stand and turn the tables on local residents this weekend. Instead of pushing sales, the company will pay $1 for every mile test-driven in their vehicles.

BMW Ultimate Drive Program

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: BMW of Honolulu, 777 Kapiolani Blvd.

Call: 877-4-A-DRIVE

But before you make plans for an all-nighter along Kapiolani Boulevard, keep in mind that all the money paid out will go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Now in its ninth year, the BMW Ultimate Drive Foundation has raised more than $8 million for breast cancer research and community outreach programs.

But the thrill of jumping behind the wheel of a $75,000 car will remain on Saturday, accompanied by a warm and fuzzy feeling from knowing that you're helping raise funds for charity.

This is the first year that Oahu residents will take part in the fund-raiser since its start in 1997.

"We're really excited because it's been hard to get the car over here," said Jeanine Ogawa, president of the Komen Foundation's Hawaii affiliate. "Our local dealer finally agreed to participate."

That car she's talking about isn't your standard BMW sedan, either. It's a titanium silver 645Ci, the signature vehicle in a fleet of 19 BMWs decorated with pink ribbons and the slogan "Driven to Find a Cure."

The car is on display in the Honolulu showroom.

Besides bearing the autographs of other "Ultimate Drive" participants, the signature vehicles also bear pictures of hometown heroes selected by Komen Foundation affiliates in various cities.

Local oncologist Dr. William Loui was an easy pick for Honolulu's hero, according to Ogawa.

"It's supposed to be somebody who has contributed significantly within the community," she said. "As we were talking to people, his name just kept coming up over and over.

"He's the kind of doctor that you would hope to have if you're ever ... diagnosed with breast cancer."

The hood of the Ultimate Drive X3 is covered with signatures and stickers expressing support for the goals of the breast cancer foundation.

FOUNDED IN 1982, the Susan G. Komen Foundation was established by Nancy Brinker to honor the sister she lost to breast cancer. Commonly recognized for its pink ribbon campaign, the international organization now boasts more than 75,000 members.

While breast cancer is a serious subject, Ogawa believes the unique partnership with BMW is a brilliant method of raising awareness while adding an element of fun.

"People who might not ordinarily test-drive these cars can come out and enjoy themselves," she said. "There's no pressure for sales or anything, and you know that you're giving back to the community."

Registration for the "BMW Ultimate Drive Program" is limited to residents 21 and over with valid driver's licenses. Appointments are encouraged, although walk-up registration will be allowed if vehicles are available.

BMW: The Ultimate Drive

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