Look inside the new Leaps of Love office
The Leaps of Love & Nicci Egbert Night At The Races event at Highland Speedway on Saturday was a rousing success.
Leaps of Love is a Highland-based organization that embraces families affected by childhood brain tumors and late-effects of childhood cancer. This event — which started six years ago — invites affected families to spend the day interacting with the racers at Highland Speedway and the community and just have fun.
This year’s outing merged with the Nicci Egbert Memorial Race.
“It was such a great day,” said Traci Riechmann, Leaps of Love president. “The weather was amazing for us as well. It was such a fun day. I can’t even describe it in words.
The families arrived around 2 p.m. for a meet and greet session with the drivers that lasted until approximately 3 p.m. followed by different activities and dinner prior to the races, which started at 6:45 p.m. All proceeds benefited Leaps of Love. Overall, Riechmann said 36 families — approximately 135 people — took part.
“We had 23 race cars at the meet and greet, so the families enjoyed meeting the drivers and getting autographs,” Riechmann said. “And it was a great night of racing. The drivers put on a great show. All four of the winners were so gracious. They thanked everyone for coming and being a part of the event. I was really impressed with that.
“I thank the drivers a lot.”
The children also enjoyed a carnival, which included a bounce house, a frog pond (similar to typical duck ponds … the Leaps of Love symbol is a frog), bean bag tosses, etc.
Additionally, there were kids frog races and an adult leapfrog competition. The childhood cancer winners of the frog races got to compete again on the racetrack during intermission, along with the adult leap frog races.
“That was a huge success,” Riechmann said. “It’s pretty entertaining.”
To wrap up, on Sunday, Core Elite Tumble & Cheer in Highland opened their doors for some tumbling and games for the families followed by a pizza party.
“The kids had a blast ... it was a great weekend altogether,” Riechmann said.
As noted, Saturday’s events also included the Nicci Egbert Memorial Race. According to Riechmann, Egbert — who passed away May 9, 2017 — was with Highland Speedway and a staunch supporter of Leaps of Love. The race for Ebgert had been postponed multiple times due to inclement weather, so Leaps of Love teamed with Highland Speedway to host it Saturday.
Additionally, the Egbert family gave out checkered flags and juice boxes to the kids.
Needless to say, Riechmann was thrilled with the weekend. As of News Leader deadline, final donation totals were still being tallied.
“A huge thanks to all the volunteers, race car drivers, staff and family that came out to enjoy and make memories for the families Leaps of Love serves,” Riechmann said. “This is an annual event where anyone can get involved. This was a great weekend for the families to meet some of our community and enjoy seeing the other families they have met along the way of the cancer journey.”
People interested in donating to Leaps of Love or just more information on the organization can visit www.leapsoflove.org or https://www.facebook.com/LeapsOfLove/ or call Riechmann at 618-410-7212.