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The Ducks Did It Again!

The 15th annual Hope Floats Duck Race lived up to its name on Sunday, May 5th, raising money and raising the spirits of all who came to support the cause of comforting the bereaved.

The numbers tell part of the story. With sunshine prevailing on a threatening day, a record 35,004 yellow ducks braved the rapids at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Thousands lined the shoreline, family and friends of KinderMourn who long ago made this our signature event.  Thousands more made it possible – adopting ducks, tagging ducks, and hammering duck signs into their front yard.By the time the ducks were back in storage, KinderMourn raised $237,000, a third of the agency's annual budget. Each dollar will go to supporting the KinderMourn mission and all we do to help people find their way in darkness.

But the numbers don’t tell the entire story, for Hope Floats is more than a fund-raiser. It’s a family reunion for those who have walked the KinderMourn path.


Everywhere you looked were colorful T-shirts graced with the name of a child. Duck Duck Brooks. Team Trey. Team Hannah Faith. Daniel’s Ducks. Jordan’s Mighty Ducks. Bubbie’s Duckies. Alanna’s Wish. Such sweet names. Such tender stories behind each one…

Nine-year-old Campbell Kolbash wore her Harper Lynn’s Angels T-shirt to honor her sister. Harper Lynn was five months old when she passed away from cancer in 2013. Campbell would hold Harper Lynn in her arms. She remembers her dark hair. And how pretty she was.

Six families came together to form Playmates In Heaven. Together, they sold 354 ducks. All six families lost an infant. All six found solace in the support group that brought them together. Sunday, the back of their

T-shirt introduced us to Baby C., Kaiden, Zaide, Ethan, Mable-Elizabeth. Lillian…


Mike and Emily Oelz, who lost Lillian at 39 weeks, said the parents in their support group all came from different backgrounds. But when they sat down together to talk and cry,  they became family. And when they gathered to cheer on the ducks, they were family once again.


 “Hope Floats is part of the journey,” Mike said. “A way to give back to KinderMourn after what they’ve given us.”


Mark your calendars! Hope Floats Duck Race 2020 is May 3rd!

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