Rubber Ducky Race to make a splash Saturday |

Rubber Ducky Race to make a splash Saturday

Nicole Inglis

— When a baby is born at Yampa Valley Medical Center, the staff at the Family Birth Place immediately put the new child against its mother's skin so it can feel her nurturing warmth.

But for each of the hospital's 25 to 30 deliveries a month, health care providers also need to use an infant warming machine with up-to-date monitoring systems.

Family Birth Place Director Tracey Fortson said the center recently has begun replacing its four 10-year-old warmers with three new, state-of-the-art GE Panda Warmers that comply with new regulations. The new warmers have built-in scales and oxygen monitors.

And this year, the YVMC auxiliary will help make that possible by purchasing one of the $20,000 machines with the proceeds from this weekend's Rubber Ducky Race fundraiser.

"The auxiliary has been so good to the Family Birth Place," Fortson said. "They actually did our waiting room. … It's been such an asset to the families.

"And if they hadn't spent the money for the warmer, we'd have to wait," she said.

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But it wouldn't be possible without the help of the community at the 24th annual Rubber Ducky Race.

The fundraiser, which takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday, will set the Yampa River aglow downtown with as many as 3,000 yellow rubber ducks careening down the rapids and swirling through the eddies as children and families run along the banks after them.

There will be more than 200 prizes given out to the first ducks to cross the finish line at the 13th Street Bridge, including a season ski pass, lodging packages and Denver Broncos tickets.

Each duck costs $10, and they are available for reservation this week at City Market from noon to 6 p.m. through Friday. Ducks can be purchased the day of the event at the Fifth Street Bridge, which is where the race begins.

Jaki Oakland, the chairwoman of this year's event, said the nearly 100 volunteers of the hospital's auxiliary work hard on this fundraiser all year, in addition to volunteering at the hospital as Kiddie Kuddlers, day surgery support and at blood drives.

"We kind of work on the warm and cuddly, the fuzzy side of things," said Oakland, an auxiliary member who also works at the hospital's front desk.

In addition to one new Panda Warmer, the funds from the Rubber Ducky Race will go toward the purchase of a new $3,000 mannequin for CPR training. Oakland said the hospital doesn't have a pediatric-sized mannequin, and it will help train staff on administering CPR to children.

She said she hopes the community comes out in support as they have in past years because not only is the event a fun and exciting experience for families, but the proceeds also benefit Routt County families in the end.

"We know some years are harder with the economy and different things," she said. "But this is one event people seem to get a lot of enjoyment out of, and it's for such a great cause."

— To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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