Above, Amie Moore just before boarding her flight at the Pickens County Airport.
It wasn't Casablanca or that plane to Lisbon waiting to wing aloft at misty midnight, but West Pickens native Amie Moore looked every bit the movie star boarding a twin-engine aircraft leaving Jasper's airport Monday afternoon, August 6. Aboard with her mother, grandmother and five others, Moore was set for a three and a half hour flight, destination: Hanover, Ontario, Canada.
An aspiring model, Moore turned 22 in Canada August 11, while spending a week there as Miss Tour of Dreams, the face of Project Track Champion, a push to make the experience of auto racing more accessible to the disabled. Canadian, Denny Snider, a racing presence in his home country, discovered Moore and signed her up as the new and pretty face of the project.
But Moore is more than a pretty face. She is a beautiful young woman now battling cancer. Her ambition to work as a model dates from age 20, almost coinciding with discovery of her illness, stage 3C ovarian cancer.
Snider learned of Moore, her aspirations and challenges through her presence on Facebook, he said. He felt she was right for the job "on seeing the life of this one and what she's having to deal with. What she's experiencing is an ongoing battle, both physical and emotional. She puts a face and a voice to Project Track Champion," Snider affirmed.
He founded Project Track Champion in 2004, its goal, "the design and creation of a vehicle to make it possible for those with disabilities to experience a more hands-on touch with racing," Snider said. That vehicle, now built, is a self-propelled auto-racing simulator Snider makes available to the disabled, usually where they live.
"Project Track Champion is not affiliated with any one disability," Snider said. "The Project car is simply a self-propelled simulator. In every way, it looks like an actual race car but is altered to be wheelchair accessible."
The first ride-along in the car was in 2007, Snider said. He drives it to facilities that serve the disabled. Riders have ranged in age from 7 to 70-plus. To date, Snider has hosted 28 such ride-alongs for the disabled, he said. Some riders who experience it become emotional, he said, on feeling again in the simulator what they knew as racers before an accident ended that adrenaline rush.
"Over 1,500 individuals have had a ride in that car," Snider reported. And some 5,000 have seen the car up close to understand the concept, including NASCAR drivers quite taken with the idea, Snider said. He hopes to bring the Project Track Champion simulator car and concept south into the United States.
An off-shoot of Project Track Champion is a Snider-backed push to see Canadian raceways made more accessible to the disabled. In the United States, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, race tracks are accessible, he said, but almost none are so in Canada.
Since starting his push for accessibility, he has endorsed Sauble Speedway in Ontario as Canada's first wheelchair accessible speedway, Snider reported.
On the Jasper tarmac, awaiting the flight to Canada, Moore heard she would be visiting an Ontario dirt track Friday, August 10. Race driver Jennifer Jarvis Hatch arrived with Snider, along for the flight from Ontario and the return with Moore.
"I'm a driver of Denny's late model [car in that racing division]," Hatch explained.
Snider said Moore and her entourage will be in Canada for a week, maybe longer if she likes. Asked if Moore and her people might need a green card for an extended Canada stay, Snider quipped, "I'll go to the provincial government to get 'em a glow-in-the-dark card if need be."
A combined 55 million disabled individuals live within the United States and Canada, Snider said. "The success of this [Project Track Champion] will be dictated by society's acceptance of it," he said.
Amie Moore's smiling face is likely to lend the project significant attention. To learn more about Moore, check out her pages on Facebook, searching either Amie Lyne Moore or Angel Amie. She also has a website:
Her Internet presence promotes an awareness about ovarian cancer "and how I can wrap a teal ribbon around it and throw some heels on it and make it glamorous," said Moore, flashing a grin beneath sunglasses all Hollywood.
Indeed she can. Here's looking at you, kid.