Cancer is a cruel monster that takes away our friends and family mercilessly. It’s an unwelcome guest that recently took ahold of James “Jimmy” Leandre of New Bedford, a 47-year-old who lost his 20-year battle with brain cancer.

He leaves behind 13 siblings, four children, and several grandchildren. He was loved dearly by the ones that knew him best, and his best friend from Fairhaven aims to make his commemoration a special one as he calls upon the help of SouthCoast motorheads.

Chris Olson of Fairhaven was best friends with Leandre since 1996, when one fateful night, they met through a friend, and became inseparable ever since.

“A good part of my life, I was friends with him,” Olson said. “He was a jack of all trades and a master of none, but he loved to work on cars. He had an El Camino at one point in his life that he named "Ellie May," because it may start, it may not. He drove that thing into the ground.”

Jimmy owned a Camaro at one point, too, so Chris and his wife, Ali, knew exactly what he wanted to do to commemorate his best friend in a special way.

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Ali put some feelers out on Facebook for anyone who may may have an El Camino, writing, “A friend and I are trying to make something wonderful happen for our close friend who passed. He loved El Caminos and it would be amazing if we could have someone with one drive in the procession from the funeral home to the cemetery service on this coming Monday morning.”

“It would be a good commemoration for him,” Olson said. “He was really into classic cars, it would be huge. He was a very beloved guy.”

So far, four owners have shown interest in participating in the procession, but they continue to search for El Camino enthusiasts that could rev up Leandre’s final ride to his resting place.

If you have or know someone who has this classic car and is willing to commemorate a special resident of New Bedford, contact Ali through Facebook.

Cancer can take away a lot of things, but it can never take away the love a friend has for another friend.

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