Central Illinois residents raise money in first Duck Dash & Waddle

By Beau Ebenezer

August 17, 2013 Updated Aug 19, 2013 at 9:52 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Next week, thousands of plastic ducks will make their way down the Illinois River for the 25th Annual Duck Race.

However, this weekend people used their own legs for the first time to raise money for the important cause.

More than 200 participants waddled their way through the inaugural 5K Duck Dash and 1 mile Waddle at the Peoria Riverfront.

While not everyone came dressed in the same attire, they were all their to support the the Center for Prevention of Abuse.

"We wanted everyone to look like a yellow duck as a participant to show the unification for the mission of this center," said Dash Director Kip Strasma. "We want to bring an end to abuse and bring an end to abusive situations for people no matter what their age is."

Delavan resident, Donna Alessi is part of a 16-person team for the upcoming Duck Race.

Saturday, her team, "Hope Does Shine" walked in honor of her niece, who was a victim in a Pekin murder-suicide last year.

"To us, it was a senseless waste of life and we felt like we needed to do something to honor her," said Alessi. "We're hoping this will help others and that we will make our goal."

Alessi's team is in 3rd place for rubber duck sales.

They have sold more than 700 ducks and hope to reach 1,000 by next week.

Other participants took advantage of the first dash and waddle, using accessories to spread awareness of abuse.

"I want to make people aware of what they offer to the community," said waddle participant Bonnie Davis. "I mean it is out there but this is one way we can do a lot of advertising."

Currently, more than 15,000 ducks have been sold, which is only half of the center's goal.

To enter the race, you can purchase a duck at duckrace.com/peoria.

The Duck Races start at 2 p.m. on August 24th on the Peoria Riverfront.

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