By Rick Shepherd, Communications Manager for RMHC of Central Ohio
On a beautiful sun-shiny summer afternoon, just less than a month ago, hundreds of bright yellow rubber duckies filled the Black Fork River that runs through downtown Shelby, Ohio after being dropped into the waterway from the Main Street bridge. Each ducky floated its way to the end where a net could catch them and, no matter which ducky crossed the finish line first, other families of ill children were going to win with this race. That’s because each ducky was sponsored by a generous member of the community with a ten-dollar donation going to Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio to honor the memory of Hudson Curren, who passed away this month five years ago after he had just become a one-year-old.
Hudson was born prematurely on July 24, 2018 at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a mitochondrial disease known as Alpers, a mutation of the POLG gene, which drastically decreases the amount of energy able to be produced by the body’s cells. The diagnosis meant he would have many month-long stays at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, including one when he was put into a medically-induced coma and then brought out of it. During those hospital stays for Hudson, Kate and Charlie Curren, his mom & dad, stayed right across the street from the hospital at the Ronald McDonald House.
Explaining why RMHC of Central Ohio would be the benefactor of the fundraiser, Charlie told The Shelby Daily Globe, “They provided us with accommodations, meals, and support during our difficult journey. This event is a way for me to give back and help raise funds for other families in need.” Charlie and his family decided to have “Hudson’s Duck Drop” at Parrot Head Pub, the family business along the river near that bridge, in the heart of Shelby.
Charlie said, “We thought it would be great if we could get a hundred duckies” sponsored. But the requests to sponsor these little bathtub toys came rolling in so 100 duckies turned in to 200 and 200 turned into 500. When Charlie found a business that could sell him that large quantity of actual rubber duckies, Party Place in Mansfield, he told them why he needed more duckies than first thought and they gave hundreds of additional duckies at no extra charge.
A trio of girls even set up a table at the event selling bracelets they had made and sold out, raising $200 for RMHC. By the time this “little” fundraiser was done, it had support from the City of Shelby, the local fire department, and a prize offered up by an area merchant too. In the end, the whole community had raised $6,000 to help the growing Ronald McDonald House in Columbus keep more families close to their babies and children in area hospitals.
Charlie says the event was such a success, his family hopes to make this an annual event at the family pub along the river in honor of Hudson every year near his birthday.
If you would like to make a donation to Hudson’s Duck Drop to honor Hudson’s memory, it’s not too late. Go to RMHC-CentralOhio.org/donate and enter “Hudson’s Duck Drop” when asked on the form if your contribution is in honor or memory of someone. If you would like to have a community fundraiser for RMHC of Central Ohio, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.