Cove teen leads second kickathon
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Ariel Draper might only be 14 years old, but she is leading the way to help children fighting leukemia to get well.
Tomorrow, the 8th grader is holding her 2nd Kicking Cancer’s Butt Kickathon at Candy Outfitters to raise funds for children fighting leukemia at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
Last October, Draper led a similar event to help her grandmaster’s wife, Linda McMurray, who at the time was fighting her own battle with cancer for the third time.
Draper, who attends Copperas Cove Junior High School, is holding tomorrow’s kickathon as her service project for the Lone Star Leadership Academy. She is now in her fourth year of participating in the academy.
“I’m a part of the alumni council and we have to do a service project every year,” Draper said. “I decided to pick St. Jude’s because they have no-cost treatment plans and they’re pretty much a nonprofit. The only way they get to do that is from donations. I want to help a kid live, and also so their families don’t have to go into debt.”
Starting at 11 a.m. and running throughout the day tomorrow, various martial artists from the House of Discipline Martial Arts Studio and Self Defense America will gather at the candy store to show their support.
“Demonstrations will go on at different times during the day,” Draper said. “All day we will have a kickathon, a giant kicking competition. The person who gets the most, gets the jackpot.”
For $10, participants can kick a martial arts bag, and the one who lands the most kicks within one minute will win. The other half of the entry fee will go to St. Jude’s. Second and third place will also receive prizes.
Inside the store, Candy Outfitters is offering a 20 percent discount on all purchases for customers who mention the kickathon, and is also donating 20 percent of profits that day.
The store is located in the Frontier Hills Shopping Center, at 185 W. Bus. 190.