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Driving for a cure: Sumter father plans to drive across the country in a 100-year-old car to raise money for brain disorder research

Todd Touchberry is fixing up his 1920 Ford Model T to drive it coast to coast. He's hoping to raise money for hydrocephalus, a brain disorder his daughter has.

SUMTER, S.C. — Driving for a cure and breaking a world record is the goal for one Sumter man. He’s hoping to fundraise for hydrocephalus, a neurological disorder his daughter was diagnosed with at just 2 days old, by driving coast to coast in a 100-year-old car.

"This is a 1920 Ford Model T," Todd Touchberry shows off. "No one’s done it coast to coast since 1924."

Touchberry has loved old cars ever since he can remember.

"What do I like about cars? Anything. Anything. The challenge," he smiles. "The engineering. If I had to pick one word to describe what I like about cars, it’d be the engineering."

Now, he’s fixing up his most recent purchase, focusing on dependability over looks.

"It needs to be dependable because we’re about to drive from Hunting Island State Park to the left coast all the way out to California," Touchberry explains.

He’s hoping to break the current record: 14 days. He plans to take the 100-year-old vehicle across the country, all to raise money and awareness for hydrocephalus, the condition his daughter Elizabeth was born with.

"My first surgery was at two-days-old," Elizabeth recalls. "For many people with headaches they would just take normal over the counter medicine, but for me it really is brain surgery."

Headaches and vision problems are just some of the symptoms she faces. Elizabeth has had 19 brain surgeries in 21 years, but says she’s fortunate to live a relatively normal life.

"I feel like hydrocephalus is something that’s not really talked about," Elizabeth shares.

Her step-mom Jennifer says raising more awareness — and money toward research — was the perfect mission for her husband.

"It was kind of something that came together with him wanting to have a fundraiser, his love of cars, the love of the country, raising money for hydrocephalus, everything just kind of came together as the perfect storm and it was something that he just became passionate about," Jennifer tells me.

Right now, Touchberry is raising money through selling decals, which you can purchase messaging him through his Facebook page. He hopes to fix up the car with different parts and have it ready to start the trip in November.

"It is a 3,000 mile journey roughly coast to coast and we go a top speed of roughly 35 so it’s going to be a very very slow ride across the country but that’s the plan," Jennifer says.

She is planning to ride with her husband most of the way.

"It’s not like hopping in your car and just driving off like your normally do," Jennifer adds. "This is a 103-year-old vehicle, it’s got its own little nuances and every time that we do something, it is a team effort."

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