2018 Kickathon brings in more than $500 for St. Jude’s


Cove Leader-Press 


Ariel Draper, a 14-year-old student at Copperas Cove Junior High School, raised a little more than $500 on Saturday during her 2018 Kicking Cancer in the Butt: Kickathon, held at Candy Outfitters. 

However, Draper is not finished raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

A donation can remains at Candy Outfitters until Monday April 23 for those that were unable to attend but still want to help.

Draper was joined by volunteers from House of Discipline, where she is a martial arts student, along with students from Self Defense America, the CCJHS Junior National Honor Society, along with the Copperas Cove Five Hills Royalty.

“Although there were strong chilly winds that blew our tents away that didn’t stop people from coming out,” Draper said.

In addition to seeing martial arts demonstrations by House of Discipline and Self Defense America, those who stopped by Candy Outfitters could take a chance to win a roundhouse kicking contest, with the one who landed the most kicks in one minute taking home half the entry fee.

Leo Gamboa won the contest, landing 88 kicks. 

Several businesses, in addition to Candy Outfitters, were on board to support the event, to include Airhead HVAC, Waffle Cone, Applebee’s, Pampered Pets, Chick-fil-A, Bella Sera, The Daisy Flower Shop, and Dairy Queen.

“Ariel is an amazing young lady driven by helping others. Her spirit is very inspiring and it is my pleasure to use our store as a platform to help in any way we can,” said Jennifer White, owner of Candy Outfitters. 

This is Draper’s second go-round with a kickathon, with the first she organized last fall to raise funds to help Linda McMurray, her Grandmaster’s wife, who had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

Draper has plans to make the kickathon an annual event and donate the proceeds to a different individual or charity each year. 

The event was part of her service project, Leaving Leukemia Behind, for her to complete as part of the Lonestar Leadership Academy’s Alumni Council and bring awareness to children’s leukemia.

By completing this service project, Draper will now be able to qualify as a Junior Facilitator at the Lonestar Leadership Academy camps this summer. 

For the moment, however, Draper is concentrating on her testing for her black belt, with her final test set for next month. 

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