For 15 years Harvest Classic has been building a legacy of hope for families facing cancer in Central Texas. Created by Russell Duke and several close friends, Harvest Classic is a motorcycle rally held each fall in Luckenbach, TX benefitting Any Baby Can’s Candlelighter Childhood Cancer Program. The event is very close to the Duke family’s heart, a beautiful legacy honoring their own Emma who passed away at age four after a brave fight against cancer. Through Harvest Classic, Russell has been able to bring together and empower a very diverse group to offer support and community in the fight against cancer, which was perfectly highlighted in one magical moment at this year’s event.
As the energetic auction of vintage bikes, motorcycle accessories, and touring packages progressed, everything suddenly quieted as a young girl bravely stepped to the mic with a welcoming, “Howdy Luckenbach!” and shared her heart to help children facing cancer.
In all of Kami’s eight years growing up she had never cut her hair, only trimmed it. But she knew children going through chemo had no hair, and she wanted to do something about it. Reading from her own handwritten note she began, “Doesn’t cancer make you sad? Me too. Think of the kids who don’t have hair because of cancer. Well – that’s why I’m here. My name is Kami and this is my 9th year as a volunteer staff member. Today I am auctioning 13 inches of my hair to be donated to Wigs for Kids. And the money raised will go to Any Baby Can! So! Let’s get this auction started!!!”
The close-knit community of 2,000 gathered for the event were deeply moved by her simple words and the bidding began at $1,000. It quickly rose to $3,500, but paused when a bidder stepped forward, wanting her to keep her hair. Kami, however, was determined to give this most precious gift, and others immediately rallied behind her, with the final bid ending at $7,500. There was hardly a dry eye in the crowd.
Kami’s mom, Laura, shared that their family has been volunteering alongside Russell and Harvest Classic for the last 14 years, so for her entire life she has been part of this special event. Mom describes Kami as naturally having a very empathetic and tender heart that always wants to make others feel better. She embodies the hearts of many families and individuals who generously give their time, gifts, talents, and resources to give back to the Candlelighter program that helped the Duke family and continues to help many others throughout Central Texas.
In Russell’s own words shared in the Harvest Classic Story, “The rally brings out the best in all of us who attend there.”