Fight the Fight, Find a Cure: Destin amusement park to host fundraiser

Savannah Vasquez
Kim Buff and Darla Petty stand in front of a Welcome Back sign The Track staff made for Darla when she won her fight against breast cancer and returned to work in 2012.

Destin local Darla Petty remembers her bout with breast cancer like it was yesterday. Diagnosed at the age of 39, Petty said the cancer came as a complete shock to her.

“I was at the healthiest I had ever been and my family has no history of cancer so I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “I started treatment the day after my 40th birthday and my kids, who were 10 and eight at the time, got to shave my head on my birthday.”

However, five years later Petty said it’s not the treatments and recovery that she remembers the most but instead the way her family, friends and co-workers rallied around her during the treatment and recovery process.

Petty has worked for The Track Family Recreation Center in Destin for 25 years and said when she faced cancer, her “Track family” gathered together to put on a fundraising event to help off-set her medical treatment costs.

“I cannot describe to you how amazing The Track was; It’s just like a family here,” said Petty. “The support I got from them was unbelievable; It’s just a really good company to work for.”

Kim Buff, another long-time member of The Track management team said that in 2011, when Petty was diagnosed with breast cancer she took it as her personal call to action.

“With her cancer it really hit home,” Buff said. “I thought, ‘We really need to do something…let’s do a fundraiser.’ We wanted to make sure one hundred percent of the money went to women and stayed local so all of the money we collect from the event sales will go to Dr. Sandra Hanoson’s Breast Clinic in Fort Walton Beach; it goes to help women who don’t have insurance or enough to cover it and need medical assistance.”

This year will mark the fifth annual Fight the Fight, Find a Cure fundraiser at the amusement park and The Track wants to invite everyone to come out for an afternoon of fun Saturday, Oct. 31 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We will have the family track, bumper boats and bumper cars, kid’s country rides, miniature golf, the Wild Woody and the Slick tracks open,” said Buff. “It’s four hours of fun and the more the merrier.”

The $15 admission fee will cover unlimited access to every activity and ride in the park with the only exclusions being the arcade, bungee jump and Sky-flyer which will be closed for the day.

“We will also have grilled hot dogs and baked goods and this year we are adding something new with a raffle,” said Buff.

Four prizes will be raffled off during the event including an iPod touch, a pair of Beats Solo 2, a Go Pro Hero 3 and a Play Station 4.

“We try to do this for the locals, for the families living here,” said Petty. “We just want to keep seeing it grow. And…” she added, “Ladies just don’t forget those breast exams! I’m a living example.”

The Fight the Fight, Find a Cure fundraiser will be held at The Track located at 1125 U.S. Hwy. 98 East from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. Admission is $15 per person for unlimited access or $8 per person for kid’s country and mini-golf only. All proceeds go to Dr. Sandra Hanson’s Breast Clinic.

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