“It’s a Jeep thing” and this current “Jeep thing” will change the lives of many children fighting for their life in the hospital.
Currently in circulation via Facebook is a group titled “Mr. Vanderquack’s Mov’n for St. Jude — Jeep Convoy through all 50 states.”
Barbara Wilson, local community member and one part of Mr. Vanderquack’s transportation team, said the mission began when a husband and wife decided to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“They bought a stuffed duck and equipped it with a GPS tracking unit,” Wilson said. “On Sept. 3, he will start his journey to all 50 states.”
Lisa Unverzagt, organizer of the the project, said she has always participated in various Jeep events for St. Jude.
“I also have participated highly in ducking other Jeeps as a form of a compliment (it’s a Jeep thing),” Unverzagt said. “I had a conversation with my husband one evening and shared with him my idea. He said it would be awesome, if I could pull it off.”
Unverzagt said she was up for the Jeep challenge.
“I made one post in a Facebook group about our conversation and asked if anyone would be interested in helping relay him,” Unverzagt said. “From that one single post, we now are well on our way to visiting over 650 cities in all 50 states plus a trip into Canada.”
Unverzagt said the whole event has went somewhat viral.
“From there, we are now over 2,000 Jeepers working together to coordinate, transport and convoy Mr. Vanderquack all to raise money for St. Jude,” Unverzagt said.
Mr. Vanderquack is set to begin his journey on Sept. 3 in St. Louis, Missouri and end in Illinois.
With a GPS tracking system in place, everyone will be able to see where Mr. Vanderquack is at in real time.
Beginning in Missouri, the trip will then take Mr. Vanderquack to to Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington (1st pass), Alaska, Washington (final pass), Oregon, California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida (1st pass), Hawaii, Florida (final pass), Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York (1st pass), Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Canada, New York (final pass), Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois.
According to Unverzagt, it’s difficult to determine a timeline for the event, but she hopes Mr. Vanderquack will make it to his destination in four to six months.
“With the participation of Jeepers and their work/life balance, adding in matching up meet up and drop off points, it can lead to bigger windows of time,” Unverzagt said. “However, with that being said, we are encouraging the Jeep owners to continue to move him with minimal downtime.”
Mr. Vanderquack, a 20-inch giant plush duck with a GPS unit can be charged throughout his journey.
In his luggage that goes with him is a GPS charger, plus a travel passport.
According to Unverzagt, everyone can record the city and Jeep name who participates in moving him.
When Mr. Vanderquack is in someone’s possession, they are also able to add a small sticker to his luggage which depict his travels.
“People are chosen from each state to take Mr. Vanderquack to the next person,” Wilson said. “While the person has possession of him they take pictures and post them to Facebook.”
Wilson’s from the Town of Central High in Southwest Oklahoma.
“I have been chosen to carry him from here to Pernell, to the next person,” Wilson said. “When he is back home he will be auctioned off and all the money will go to St. Jude.”
Wilson said she will receive Mr. Vanderquack from a guy from Lawton.
“I hope that the community would gain a sense of pride that their community is a part of a huge project,” Wilson said. “I moved here from Colorado in March and fell in love with the community as well as its people. It is a great honor to have him come through here.”
Throughout this process, Unverzagt said she can’t wait to see the lives that Mr. Vanderquack touches.
“His inspiration to encourage donations to St. Jude is our primary focus as we move him across all states,” Unverzagt said. “The children and family of St. Jude can also watch him in real time in his travels, which will be accompanied by photos and stories from those who have participated and those that watched the convoy bring awareness to St Jude.”
According to Unverzagt, the fundraiser would financially help out with care and treatment of children and their families needs.
“It also generates a fun and childlike way to ask for donations,” Unverzagt said. “It’s a win win for both St. Jude families and those helping to make it happen.”