By Libby Hopkins
Rick Miller of Valrico is on a mission. His mission is to fund the research that will prevent cancer in children and adults. That may sound like a pretty lofty mission but he’s not alone in his quest. Miller has his girlfriend, Beth Morgan, and his friends Sean and Dani Donahue and Sean Rice at his side helping him every step of the way. Miller is a three-time cancer survivor. “I’m not a cancer survivor, I’m a cancer warrior,” Miller said. “I will fight this disease with every breath I have.”
Back in 2011 the group of friends decided to form a small team to walk for Miles for Moffitt. “We didn’t raise much money that year, but we had a lot of fun and decided to form an official team,” Miller said. The Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies were born. “Our goal was to raise $1,000 and after our first fundraiser of selling Jell-O shots at O’Brien’s Irish Pub in Brandon, we had already exceeded our goal,” Miller said. The group decided to change their name to O’Brien’s Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies since Miller’s friend, Rice, is the owner of the pub.
“With the help of Sean Rice and all his wonderful staff, we held our first annual Duck Derby in 2012 and we donated $10,000 to Miles for Moffitt,” Miller said. “We became Miles for Moffitt’s number one fundraising team and set the watermark.” The Duck Derby is a race where little rubber ducks are launched down a water slide that is attached to the roof at O’Brien’s Irish Pub. Customers can purchase the rubber ducks to compete in the race.
In 2013, the group had more than 162 registered walkers for Miles for Moffitt. They held various fundraisers throughout the year, which included a yard sale, bowling tournament, Jello-shots sales and the now famous Duck Derby. They were able to donate over $35,000 to Moffit. “One of the reasons we chose Moffitt is because all the money we collect and donate goes directly to Moffitt and stays in the Tampa Bay area to help fund project to find a cure,” Miller said.
The 2014 Duck Derby will be held on Saturday, May 3 at O’Brien’s Irish Pub. The team is hoping to raise $20,000 at the event. To learn more about O’Brien’s Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies or to get involved with the Duck Derby, visit www.duckcancer.com. O’Brien’s Irish Pub is located at 701 West Lumsden Rd. in Brandon.