A Legacy Lives on Through Giving
When Russell and Kathy Duke were connected to the Candlelighters program, their daughter Emma had just received a diagnosis of Neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer. The family received services and support, and gained a community around them during a low-point in their lives.
That was more than 20 years ago.
Since Emma’s passing at the age of four, the Duke family has vowed to honor the legacy and memory of their daughter, and their partnership with Any Baby Can. They committed to bringing hope and support to other families in need by donating to Any Baby Can’s Candlelighters program. And they did this through a passion of theirs: vintage motorcycles.
“Candlelighters were always there to provide counseling, special events, Christmas toys, airline tickets for out-of-town treatment, and much more. Even though Emma is in heaven, there are still kids who are fighting cancer right now, and the Candlelighters are there to help them,” says Russell Duke.
For twenty years, the Harvest Classic European and Vintage Motorcycle Rally was organized by Central Texas Motorcycle Charities, an organization run by the Dukes and others who have had their lives affected by pediatric cancer. Money was raised through rally admission fees, donations from our sponsors, t-shirt sales, proceeds from the auction, and raffle ticket sales.
Their last rally was held in Luckenbach, Texas in October 2022. Through hard work and a dedicated community, they were able to reach the $1 million dollar mark, donating $1,010,000 to Any Baby Can over the last 20 years! You can see the cumulative donations to Candlelighters since 2003. It’s amazing what a small group of dedicated people can accomplish over time.
Focus on the Mission
More than just a motorcycle rally, Harvest Classic is a rally for life. It’s a coming together of people who want to change the trajectory of families facing a challenging diagnosis.
“They never lose sight of the mission. They have a lot of fun, raffling off high-end goods and showing off amazing motorcycles. But at the forefront is Emma, and the continued support for children facing childhood cancer,” says Any Baby Can President and CEO, Veronda L. Durden.
With the funds raised through events like Harvest Classic, the Candlelighters program is thriving. Since 2003, we’ve served 2,012 parents and children through Candlelighters. In the 20 years that Harvest Classic has supported Any Baby Can, we’ve seen a 1,300% growth in clients served annually. We also send an average of 34 kids to Camp Grey Dove each year, a special summer camp for children with cancer and their siblings. The camp helps kids learn coping skills while making friends and having fun.
We couldn’t have done this without the continued dedication to our mission.
With the money that they’ve raised, their story continues. Because of one life, many more families have been supported. And that impact transforms the community for everyone.
Thank you, Harvest Classic and the Duke Family!
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