COPPERAS COVE — Ariel Draper, 13, of Copperas Cove, a student with House of Discipline, located in Harker Heights, put together a fundraiser for Grandmaster James McMurray’s wife, Linda, to help pay for medical bills associated with her cancer diagnosis.
The event, a kick-a-thon and martial arts demonstrations, was held Saturday at Candy Outfitters in Copperas Cove.
Ariel, having seen a fundraiser called, “Kick Cancer in the Butt,” in Florida, asked if she could do a spin off, here in the Killeen area to raise money for McMurray’s medical bills.
Ariel, driven by her mother, Anne Derby, went to various businesses to ask for support and participation.
“We have raised a lot of money, so far, I don’t know how much, but I know it’s a lot,” Ariel said Saturday.
Grace Milan-Padilla, 32, of Fort Hood, was at the event with her two girls, Stephanie, 6, and Adrianni, 5, to support McMurray. Stephanie has been a student at House of Discipline since February.
“We want to ‘Kick Cancer in the Butt’ to support them and help them get money for medical bills, I have family that has been affected by cancer and I understand how hard it is,” Grace Milan-Padilla said.
McMurray, has had two previous battles with cancer and is currently in recovery, but still has to undergo radiation treatments on her brain and will have to have routine checks for the rest of her life to ensure the cancer doesn’t return.
McMurray felt well enough to attend the event.
“It’s been amazing and has been crowded,” she said. “There has been a steady stream of people, even people I haven’t seen in a while. I feel so humbled.”
Jennifer White, owner of Candy Outfitters, said she was honored to host the event.
“Business has been busier during the event. I started collecting yesterday and 40 percent of sales are being donated today. We are just honored to be able to do this for them, it means a lot.”
Grandmaster McMurray said he was proud of his students and honored by what they are doing.
“For my students to do this all on their own, it just makes my heart tear up,” said McMurray, an Army veteran.
He said Ariel approached him with the idea and permission, and he asked her what he can do to help.
“She said, ‘nothing,’ I said, ‘what you mean nothing?’ She did this all herself,” the grandmaster said, adding he has never had a student do anything like this in the 30 years he has been open.
McMurray also has a GoFundMe set up at https://www.gofundme.com/e5tugw-lindas-cancer-medical-fund.