Local charity group, Duck Duck Jeep, helps raise money for cancer treatments

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- There's a caravan of Jeeps driving across North Carolina this weekend, with one yellow stuffed duck and many rubber ones riding along. Organizers say it started out as a nationwide feel-good moment called Duck Duck Jeep.

"Someone was driving back and forth, and just started handing out ducks to people as a way to be kind and bring smiles to people during this time," said Jamie Morris. "We picked it up here in Fuquay and started our own Duck Duck Jeep group!"

Participants approach strangers who also have Jeeps.

"It's a duck, and if you read this, it's from a friend of mine who's here," said Ellie Szabados.

"And a lady in Illinois decided to take it to another level," said Carol Ann Matthews as she explained the stuffed duck's connection to Duck Duck Jeep. "She's very involved with families who have lost children due to cancer. So she got the idea of getting Mr. Vanderquack, and send him through all 50 states to raise money for the St. Jude hospitals."

Vanderquack is the stuffed duck's name, and it's used on social media to help the mission of St. Jude's. The charity connects young cancer patients with lifesaving treatment by medical specialists located miles away from their homes.

"Ellie has pilocytic astrocytoma, which is brain cancer. She was never supposed to see 10 years old. She is now 15. So, she has stared the beast in the face and told the beast to go away, because she's not going anywhere! They do so much for kids across the country and as parents, we never pay a dime! We don't pay for the transportation there, they pay for the parents housing, as a mother, I stayed with her the whole time," Ellie's mother Stephanie Szabados explained.

As the face of the fundraiser, Mr. Vanderquack's all over social media with groups of "Jeepers" documenting his travels. The duck's Jeep escort continues its trek through North Carolina cities and towns this weekend.

"We'll take all the Jeeps, we'll get in a convoy and go to Garner. We'll take him from there to Raleigh and he'll head from there to South Carolina," said Matthews.

Go to Fuquay-Varina Duck Duck Jeep on Facebook for more information of Mr. Vanderquack and the fundraiser.
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