COPPERAS COVE — Even at a young age, Ariel Draper, 14, has seen others suffering from cancer.
She likes to see other people happy, though.
The Copperas Cove Junior High School student, who is also a Tae Kwon Do student at the House of Discipline in Harker Heights, organized a fundraiser to kick cancer’s butt on Saturday at Candy Outfitters.
The theme was “Leaving Leukemia Behind.”
The proceeds will benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Research Center.
The martial arts theme complements Draper’s disciplined attitude, which will see her facing her final test for a black belt in May. The fundraiser was also her service project for the Lone Star Leadership Academy.
Jennifer White, owner of Candy Outfitters, was glad to have the tents set up in front of the store. “It’s my passion to help as much as I can.”
Candy Outfitters even offered participants in the Kick-a-thon a 20 percent discount on their purchases, with another 20 percent of the sale being donated to St. Jude’s.
A kicking contest featured prizes for those who could execute the most kicks in 60 seconds, with “BOB” — a body opponent bag — fielding other kicks for $1.
Those who contributed received swag bags with coupons and other goodies.
Members of the Ezagui family practiced their kicks on BOB, led by father Robert Jr, an assistant instructor at the House of Discipline. Sons Robert III, 14, and Romeo, 9, unlaced their shoes and stuck out their tongues as their aimed for BOB’s head.
Draper sees the imagery of kicking cancer’s butt as fitting. “I’ve seen many people my life die of cancer, and I’d rather not see any more.”