Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff A few children hop into the river to help free some of the stuck rubber ducks during Saturday’s duck race in Blackfalds.

Racing rubber ducks for Ronald McDonald House

Kristin Heneghan and Jocelyn Sonnenberg have seen the Ronald McDonald House help people, and they wanted to give back to the organization in a unique way.

“We’ve known a few people who have had to use the house, and it’s saved their lives – financially and emotionally,” said Heneghan.

When the two organizers were looking for ideas for fundraising events, a friend from Halifax suggested doing a duck race. On Saturday, they raised roughly $3,000 at their version of a rubber duck race at Burbank Park in Blackfalds.

They bought 3,000 small, yellow rubber ducks and gave people the option to sponsor a duck for $2. About half of the ducks were sponsored, Heneghan said.

Everyone really seemed to enjoy the event, said Rhanda Bonet-Graham, the fundraising manager at Ronald McDonald House – Central Alberta.

“These two ladies are just fantastic,” she said. “As an organization that relies on donations. We really appreciate thoughtful and generous people like them who come up with creative ideas to get the community involve.”

Bonet-Graham said if 300 or 400 groups raise $3,000 that covers “almost our entire operating budget, so it’s fantastic and so important.”

When Bonet-Graham first heard about the idea to race ducks she thought it would be real ducks, she said.

“I’d never been to a rubber duck race before; it was just such a creative and fun idea,” she said.

The event definitely has the potential to grow next year, Bonet-Graham said.


Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta’s Rhanda Bonet-Graham helps catch the 3,000 rubber ducks floating down the river during Saturday’s race in Blackfalds. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

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