By Rebekah Saylors
On Saturday, Oct. 16, ghouls, ghosts and goblins once again gathered on the campus of Appalachian State University — and virtually — for the 11th annual Spooky Duke 5K/10K Race and Costume Contest. The event raised more than $25,000 to support High Country children with special needs — the most to date since the race began in 2011.
This year, 341 walkers and runners and 50 volunteers participated. With sponsorships, donations and participation fees, the event raised more than $15,000 in proceeds to benefit App State’s Parent to Parent Family Support Network-High Country (FSN-HC), which assists regional families who have children with special needs.
Two $5,000 matching grants from Health Foundation Inc. and Mast General Store raised the total to $25,617.
The Halloween-themed fundraising and awareness-raising event is a USA Track & Field-certified 5K and 10K race with a free costume march and contest in which children, adults and pets show off costumes as part of the fun. Spooky Duke is named in honor of Dr. Charles R. Duke, event sponsor and former dean of App State’s Reich College of Education (RCOE).
App State’s Parent to Parent (FSN-HC), housed in RCOE, provides free support and information to families who have a premature baby or a child with a disability, an emotional or behavioral challenge, a mental illness or a chronic health condition, and also assists families who are grieving the death of a child. The program serves Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.