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Duck Donuts® Kicks Off Fundraising Campaign to Benefit 50 Children’s Hospitals

Fourth Annual Quack Gives Back Fundraiser Supports Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program

Total Donations Since 2017 are Expected to Top $240,000 in 2020

MECHANICSBURG, PA (September 1, 2020) – Today, Duck Donuts begins its fourth annual franchise-wide Quack Gives Back Campaign supporting Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, which helps alleviate fear and anxiety in children undergoing cancer treatment. Taking place each September during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the campaign has raised nearly $190,000 to date. This year’s funds will go directly to 50 children’s hospitals in the communities local Duck Donuts’ owners serve across the United States.

Throughout the month, customers at any Duck Donuts location can choose to “lend a wing” by rounding up their purchase to the next dollar, with the difference donated to the Quack Gives Back program. Contributions will provide children who are patients at local pediatric oncology units with access to Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program, which encourages healing through the power of play therapy for children and families dealing with childhood cancer.

“Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program is an important resource not just for the children undergoing cancer treatment and their families, but also for the doctors, nurses, child life specialists, and other supporters who are trying to comfort children and navigate them through what can be a very scary experience,” said Russ DiGilio, founder and CEO of Duck Donuts. “For the last four years, we’ve been proud to partner with this wonderful organization to provide huggable hope to thousands of kids and families. We look forward to another year of raising awareness and dollars for this special cause and doing what we can to live out our core value of being a valued member of our community.”

Since becoming a national sponsor in 2017, donations from Duck Donuts and its customers have enabled 6,000 families to receive Gabe’s Chemo Duck Programs at no cost. This unique educational program includes a 12-inch, soft “Chemo Duck” used for medical play therapy; a bilingual companion overview book; an activity book; and an educational DVD that includes a cartoon about the program.

“By partnering with Duck Donuts, we’ve been able to extend our outreach to thousands of children and we’re honored to be the beneficiary of this campaign again this year,” said Lu Sipos, founder and CEO of Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program. “Gabe and I are very grateful that Duck Donuts has chosen to help us help children living with cancer and their families and we greatly appreciate the generosity of the company and its customers.”


Duck Donuts was founded in 2006 by Russ DiGilio in Duck, North Carolina. His intention? To solve a family vacation problem: “Our family wanted a place to buy warm, delicious, made-to-order donuts, and when we couldn’t find one, we decided to start our own.”

By 2011, Duck Donuts had expanded to four Outer Banks locations and the donut business was so successful that DiGilio was continuously approached about franchise opportunities by fans who begged for a Duck Donuts in their community. The first franchise opened in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 2013, and there are now 97 open franchise locations and more than 145 additional contracts in 26 states and three countries.


Gabe’s Chemo Duck Program is a Nashville-based nonprofit organization established in 2004 to provide education and comfort to children living with cancer through medical play using therapeutic tools. The goal of the program is to enable hospital staff and parents to prepare children for chemotherapy treatment and eliminate the fear of the unknown.

Chemo Duck is a stuffed yellow duck dressed in blue hospital scrubs with a bandana around its head, a chemotherapy port on its chest and an immobilizer on his arm. In a gentle, age-appropriate manner, children learn what to expect during cancer treatment and have a friend to share the experience. In turn, children can use Chemo Duck to help friends, siblings and classmates to understand and empathize with their experience.