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Northwest Colorado Health: Rubber Ducky Race for Hospice

Jaclyn McDonald
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Tickets are available online now for the Rubber Ducky Race for Hospice, which raises funds to support end-of-life care in our community.
Courtesy photo

Since 1988, the annual Rubber Ducky Race has been a local favorite in our community. Whether the duckies are swimming down the Yampa River, or splashing out of the water slides at Old Town Hot Springs, the event has brought joy to many through the years, while always supporting a good cause. 

For Sandy Beran, the Rubber Ducky Race has an extra special meaning. Not only is she the Moffat County Spiritual Care and Bereavement coordinator with Northwest Colorado Health’s Hospice program, her mother, Jerre Forbes, was involved with the Rubber Ducky Race from the beginning when the Hospital Auxiliary held the race. She has seen firsthand the impact that Hospice has on local families and the importance of raising funds through events like the Rubber Ducky Race. 

“In Hospice, our philosophy is to come alongside the patient and family right where they are,” Beran said. “We offer comfort care tailored to fit into their own home and environment, and we encourage our patients and families to live and enjoy doing whatever they are able to do.”

According to Beran, many times, hospice helps to restore relationships and bring families together.

“I had a patient who seemed to be very alone tell me that he’d like a garden party,” says Beran. “He had been a drummer in a band and so we threw the party, and his former band-mates brought the instruments, including his old drums. He was able to play briefly and even had the opportunity to show his son who lived out of town how to play the drums. It was a magical experience.”

Experiences like these, as well as the regular day-to-day support provided to patients and caregivers, are possible because of dedicated staff, as well as specially trained hospice volunteers. Hospice gives patients and families precious time to live out their final days and wishes with dignity and compassion. While also helping to bring calmness and closure for the patient, and their loved ones. 

For Beran, the Rubber Ducky Race is a fun way to support hospice, and honor her mother’s memory.

“She always put a positive spin on everything and loved to have fun,” she said. And now for 32 years, that positivity has lived on through the joy the rubber duckies bring to all who experience the race.

The Steamboat Springs Rubber Ducky Race for Hospice will take place in September at the Old Town Hot Springs waterslides, with video of the race shared for supporters to enjoy virtually. Due to COVID-19, tickets may not be sold in as many business locations as years past, but they are available to purchase online. Tickets are only $10, and each ticket purchased provides an opportunity to win cash and other great prizes. You do not need to be present to win. 

Buy your tickets today at northwestcoloradohealth.org/rubberducky or text QUACK to 56525. For questions about the race or to volunteer, contact Kyleigh Lawler at 970-871-7609.

Jaclyn McDonald is marketing coordinator at Northwest Colorado Health. She can be reached at jmcdonald@northwestcoloradohealth.org or 970-871-7642.


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