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Women Drive Toy Cars 500 Miles Down Florida Coast to 'Save Animals'

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Two 29-year-old women from Florida, best friends since kindergarten, embarked on a 500-mile journey together using not cars or other traditional forms of transportation, but motorized toy cars.

Cassie Aran and Lauren Lee have been taking on challenges and documenting them on social media for years, including a 45-mile trip in Heelys and a kayak trip in a cheap inflatable kayak to an island in Tampa Bay, but this time they wanted the “next.” do a big thing.”

The women had originally planned to break the Guinness World Record for the longest ride in a toy car by driving down the Florida coast from Jacksonville to Key West.

“We wanted to do something bigger than anything we’ve ever done,” Aran told USA TODAY. “We've been best friends since kindergarten, so we've done a lot of crazy things together, but we wanted to do something even bigger.”

Her TikTok videos documenting her road trip have garnered hundreds of thousands of views.

Fundraiser organized for Best Friends Animal Society

The campaign was also meant to be for a good cause, as the women hoped to “save animals along the way” by organizing a fundraiser for Best Friends Animal Society. As of Friday, over $16,000 had been donated, exceeding the women's goal of $10,000.

“We praise (the fundraiser) in our videos and try to do our best to help Best Friends Animal Society … the most important thing they do is end kill shelters and create more humane options,” Aran said. “It’s a big passion of mine personally because I have a rescue dog.”

In addition to the fundraiser, the women will also donate proceeds from their merchandise sales to Best Friends Animal Society, Aran said.

Guinness World Record wanted Cassie Aran and Lauren Lee to pay an “exorbitant fee”.

Although the original plan was to break the Guinness World Record, the women learned halfway through that they would have to pay $16,000 to have their names added to the book of records.

“We received an email from (Guinness World Record) essentially saying it was free to set any record, but since we were raising money we were technically put in a different category,” Lee said. “We were no longer just individuals doing this, it put us in the corporate category.”

According to Lee, the women had to choose between paying an “exorbitant fee” or helping the animals.

“We came to the conclusion that the animals were obviously more important than the title,” Lee said. “It’s something we can do again and again, we love doing things like that anyway.”

How did the idea of ​​driving toy cars 500 miles come about?

The idea of ​​driving toy cars 500 miles came from the women who drove Barbie Power Wheels when they were girls growing up in New Jersey, Lee said. Her childhood experiences encouraged her to try driving toy cars again, so about two years ago they drove 35 miles from Tampa to Clearwater, she added.

According to Lee, their 35-mile trip in Walmart toy cars resulted in them driving nearly $1,800 worth of toy cars together for 58 days. The two will conclude their adventure Saturday morning when they cross the finish line in Key West, where the city's mayor and commissioner will issue them a certificate of completion of their journey, she said.

Cassie Aran and Lauren Lee don't bite each other's heads off

Lee called the experience with Aran “phenomenal,” although people in comments wondered how they didn't “bite each other's heads off.”

“Over the years, we've learned what each other needs when we're tired, hungry, full or whatever,” Lee said. “After a long day, we know how to keep spirits up…I feel like we communicated very well the entire time.”

Aran said it's discouraging at times because some days you drive 16 hours to get to your destination and “everything just goes wrong,” from a broken car to a dead battery.

“Sometimes it can get scary or discouraging, but then the other person is always trying to lift the other person up,” Aran said.

“It’s all about the small steps”

What people can take away from the women's entire experience is that they “don't have to make huge strides every day,” Lee said.

“It's about the small steps you take these days on the way to your big goal,” she said. “No dream is too big to realize…we have been making it happen day by day, anything is possible.”

Aran said her trip was intended to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone.

“I would love for people to look at this and just do something that makes them a little uncomfortable,” she said. “That’s the only way you can grow.”

Anna Harden

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