The seventh annual Heather Treat Memorial Duck Race enjoyed its most duck sales ever as organizations from Johnson County schools participated in finding adoptees for the 3,422 ducks sold this year.
Despite three days of rain and a soggy Sunday morning, organizers said the ducks sold out well before the race providing for three lucky winners and an increase in fundin
g raised for the Memorial.
“Nothing is ever cancelled due to weather with the Duck Race,” Heather Treat Memorial founder and Duck Race organizer Robin Harper-Whitehead said. “The kids bounced and slid down the slide and had the best day ever with a little water and even some mud.”
Hundreds of people came and went as the weather fluctuated between downpours and drizzles and even cleared up as the ducks raced toward the finish line. Duck sales led to the memorial raising more than $18,000 this weekend as students throughout the county looking to help their own organizations and the memorial fund participated in this year’s sales.
“This was the first year we worked with the schools to help us help them,” Harper-Whitehead said. “We hope that this will become bigger next year.”
The increase in sales provided for three lucky ducks winning $500 each and three lucky losers winning $250 each. Goreville Band Boosters took home $75 with the most ducks sold from the school sales competition and Buncombe was close behind taking home $50. Grade schools in Vienna and New Simpson Hill also participated in the duck sales and Harper-Whitehead said this new collaboration allows for an increase in awareness of the Memorial’s work with cancer patients in Johnson County.
“The longer we are around and help more people the more people know what we do,” Harper-Whitehead said. “We hope to make it to each grade school and tell the students about the importance of the fund and how it helps people they already know.”
The Heather Treat Memorial was founded in 1994 after the death of Heather [Harper] Treat who had colon cancer that later spread to her lungs and brain. Harper-Whitehead said that even though her sister had insurance that provided “great coverage,” the little things that were not covered such as gas, hotels and every-day bills all began to pile up from being out of work. Donations from friends and family helped to ease the financial burdens on her sister.
“We just started this to help cancer patients with the money friends left to my sister and this is what happened,” Harper-Whitehead said. “God had a plan and I just followed through. I feel blessed to be able to help so many people by being that bridge between everyone who donates and the person who has cancer.”
The memorial has provided for nearly $200,000 in funding for cancer patients since its inception and has already paid out more than $7,000 in funding this year. The funds raised go entirely to Johnson County cancer patients and puts zero restrictions on how the money is used by those in need.
Harper-Whitehead said the Duck Race and the memorial fund would never be able to stay afloat and help all the people that it has helped without each and every person who buys ducks, rents vendor spaces, participates, volunteers, leaves memorials after their loved ones have passed and to those who pray for the memorial to stay around.
“It takes all of us to make this happen,” Harper-Whitehead said, adding, “I just happen to be the one who signs the check and sends it out, that’s all.”
2013 Duck Race Winners
$500 Winners with sellers receiving $100: Joyce Manis, sold by This N That Shoppe; Lelah Miller, sold by Erin Botarf; Donna Choate, sold by Kristi Raben.
$250 Losers with sellers receiving $50: Alice Racey, sold by Virginia George; Michelle Stroud, sold by Goreville Band Boosters; Melody Vogler, sold by Shelbey Beasley.
$25 Random Duck Pond Draw winners: Kathy Schultz won twice; Cagles Tire and Wheel; Big Boys; Kay Kelley; Mason Lipe; Bonnie Lewis; Richard and Karen Brumley; Governmental Business Systems; Shirley Travis; Brittani Throgmorton; Kelly Kavelman Beringer.
Most Ducks sold by business or individual: This N That was first receiving $100.00; Pam Morris was second receiving $75.00.