“Hey, Trixie,” Honey said into the phone.  It had only been about ten minutes since she had seen her best friend at their Sunday night Bob-White meeting.  For once, everyone had been there, so there had been more chatting and less getting down to business than usual.

“What’s up?” the curly-haired blonde asked.  Honey could hear what sounded like someone eating potato chips on the other end of the line.

“Have you visited Luceraoule today?”  Luceraoule was Trixie, Honey, and Diana’s favorite website.  It was all about their favorite girl detective Lucy Radcliffe.  It was a great online community where their commonality was their love of Lucy Radcliffe, but it was so much more than that.  They were from all corners of the earth.  Some of them had been reading Lucys for decades while others had just discovered the great stories.  There was fanfic, random thoughts, get togethers, online chats, and lots of support.

“I haven’t had a chance,” Trixie said.  “Did Vivian post pictures of the Neil Diamond concert she and Donna went to see?”

“Not that I know of,” Honey replied. She was bouncing up and down with all kinds of excitement.  “You know how Brian and Jim wanted to do one last fundraiser before the end of the school year.  I have the perfect opportunity.”

Honey’s excitement spread to Trixie.  “So, tell me, what is it?”

“The community is having a Virtual 5K in honor of Lucy’s birthday, May 3rd,” Honey finally got out.  “I’ve always thought that it was neat that Lucy is an almost-twin to you.”

“Virtual 5K?” Trixie asked.  “What’s that, everyone pretends to run a 5K?”

“No, silly,” Honey said.  “Instead of meeting in one place for a 5K, everyone either finds a 5K to run that day or walks or runs on their own.  They donate money to the charity of their choice.”

Trixie groaned.  “It’s a great idea, but you know how much I hate to run.”

“Well, that’s the best part,” Honey said.  “You can run, walk, bike, roller skate, even pogo stick if you want. Go check it out. I think it’s a great idea.  The Bob-Whites can participate but don’t have to do a lot of planning.”

Trixie thought for a minute and then said, “I love the idea but I don’t know if we can get the guys to do something that is involves the Lucy message board.  Dan will do anything if you ask him, Jim and Brian might, but I don’t see Mart participating.”

“That’s the best part.  The Lucy board has challenged the Cosmo McNaught board.  The team that raises the most amount of money will get a specially written fanfic by the authors of the other message board.”

The next day, Trixie called an emergency Bob-White meeting during lunch.  She and Honey explained the fundraiser to the rest group. 

“It’s so cool,” Diana said.  “I was reading on the message board about all of the different charities that people are working for.  My favorite is BonnieH’s.  She’s donating to Quail Unlimited.  She’s always been so supportive of the Bob-Whites and thought it was a cool way to honor them.”

“Well, the guys on the Cosmo McNaught message board are ready for the challenge,” Mart said.  “There have been donations to local food banks, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and even to a family that recently lost their home to a fire.”

Dan looked around.  He was secretly a member of the Luceraoule community.  His mom had owned several of the books.  One day, when he was desperate for something to read, he had picked up one of them and was hooked.  His screen name was Mr. Darby.  So far Trixie, Diana, and Honey had not figured out who he was.  All they knew was that he was the token male on the board. 

 “What I like best about it is that you don’t have to donate to a recognized charity.  If there is someone that has hit on hard times and needs some support you can donate to them,” Trixie chimed in.

“And it’s whatever you can afford,” Honey added.  “They recommend a ten-dollar donation but if all you can afford is a dollar, that’s okay, too.”

“Say no more,” Brian said.  “As our illustrious secretary would say, it’s a perfectly perfect idea.  We get to do one last fundraiser before we go off to college, it won’t take a lot of our time to do it, and you can’t beat the charity since we each get to choose.”

The rest of the meeting was spent deciding which charities they would be supporting.  They discussed the merits of choosing one charity for all of them to donate to versus everyone choosing their own.  In the end, they decided that each Bob-White would choose his or her own charity. They wouldn’t raise a lot for each charity, but it would bring attention to seven different charities to the Bob-Whites and the Lucy and Cosmo message boards.  Deciding on which charities was harder than any of them realized.  There were so many good causes to donate to. 

When they had discussed different charities for an hour, Jim finally said, “I think we have a good start on the charities, now we just have to make a decision.  Why don’t we meet next week and we can each announce the charity we choose?”

All week the Bob-Whites researched charities.  They also had some good banter happening on the internet.  Someone set up a Facebook page for the challenge which allowed members of both online communities to challenge each other without those members joining the other message board.  It wasn’t that they weren’t welcome, it just was a lot easier.

Both communities were drumming up a lot of interest.  They were surprised when people who were not active in either community found the Facebook page and joined either Team Lucy or Team Cosmo.  The competition was getting tight, but it was all in good fun.

The following week the Bob-Whites met and discussed the charities they had researched.  Trixie was surprised at the variety of charities they had discovered.

Brian was the first to report in.  “I suppose it’s no big surprise that I chose the American Cancer Society.  They do so much for research on all types of cancers.  I think that’s the one for me.”

Diana said, “Great minds must think alike. I looked into the Terry Fox Foundation.  It’s headquartered in Canada.  Terry Fox had his leg amputated above the knee in the 1970’s and went on to attempt to run across Canada in the early 1980’s.  The run was to raise money and awareness to cancer.  He had to end his run early because he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died a few months later.  His legacy lives on with runs across Canada.”

“I’ve never heard of that charity,” Jim said.  “It sounds like Terry Fox was quite a guy. I went in a different direction.  I’m going to run for Big Fluffy Dog Rescue.  They’re an organization that rescues and finds homes for large mixed-breed dogs.  They are rescued from shelters, people bring them in because they cannot handle a large dog, and various other reasons.  A lot of times the dogs have a lot of health issues that need to be addressed before they are placed in their forever homes.  I follow them on Facebook and they are always in need of money.”

Tears came to Honey’s eyes at the thought of people abandoning their dogs.  “That’s so sad,” she said.  “I chose the Salvation Army.  They’ve done so much over the years for the homeless, those who can’t afford food, and the needy in general.  They have a good reputation.  We’ve rung bells for the in the past at Christmas and they are always in need of money.”

Dan said, “All good charities that help good causes.  Mine is one that is close to my heart.  It’s the MPN Research Foundation.  They are the only organization that funds research for polycythemia.  My mom was diagnosed with it and she died from complications from it.  Unfortunately, because so few people are affected by it, the larger cancer organizations don’t fund the research.”

Trixie exclaimed, “I never knew that’s what happened to your mother, Dan.  Everyone has come up with great ideas.  I want to donate to all of them.  I decided to run for Youth Challenge.  It’s an organization that provides recreational activities for physically handicapped children while providing volunteer opportunities for teens to work challenged kids.”

“So, Mart, what charity did you choose?” asked Dan.  “The local food pantry?”

“That’s a good one,” Mart replied, “but instead I chose the Susan G. Komen 3 Day.  My friend is walking it this year and has to raise $2,300 in order to walk.  I thought I’d donate to her fundraising effort.  I know in the past the Komen Association has gotten some bad press, but they still do a lot of good. My friend’s cousin was just diagnosed with breast cancer and she’s only 40.  It runs in her family, and Komen is doing some important research on the genetic connection to breast cancer.”

“Well, it sounds like we’ve got a good mix of charities to donate to,” Brian said, “including several that focus on cancer research.  We all know someone who has been affected by this horrible disease.  And then we have several that focus on the animals we’ve grown to love.  Then there is the Salvation Army.  They help all kinds of people, just like the Bob-Whites do.”

“You’re so right, Brian,” Dan said.  “But the even better thing is that there will be many more charities that will be helped by this event.  Beyond the monetary donations, the organizations will be mentioned on the message boards and on social media.  I can’t wait to see how much money is raised and how many organizations benefit from them.”

April 30th dawned bright as the seven Bob-Whites began their 5K Walk/Run.  They had mapped out a course along Glen Road, past Mr. Lytell’s store.  Ever competitive Trixie and Mart took off at a run.  They had made a side bet that whoever lost would donate an additional $10 to the winner’s charity.  Dan and Jim jogged at a steady pace while Brian, Diana, and Honey walked.

To everyone’s surprise but Trixie, she won the race.  After celebrating everyone’s success the seven Bob-Whites returned to the Manor House to enjoy a brunch prepared by Cook. Jim grabbed his laptop and logged into the event Facebook page. 

“I can’t believe it,” Diana said looking over his shoulder.  “This event has already raised $2000 for various charities.  I’m sure not everyone has reported in.”

“And look,” Dan pointed out.  “It’s a pretty tight race as to which message board raised the most.”

“Well, Mart hasn’t included his latest donation,” Jim pointed out.

“Yes!” Mart exclaimed.  “That will help our cause.”

“Wait,” Trixie said. “That money is supposed to go to my charity so it goes towards Luceraoule.”

“Wrong,” Mart said.  “I donated the money.  It goes to the Cosmos.”

The two almost twins glared at each other for several minutes, neither one of them willing to give in.

Diana piped up, “Well, unless Mart has a thousand dollars to donate, Luceraoule is going to win no matter what.  There’s a new member with the screen name RebelHeiressMGW that just donated a thousand dollars to the Hershey School.  Looks like we’ll be getting some new Lucy fanfic.”

Brian, Jim, and Mart groaned.  Trixie, Honey and Diana cheered.  Dan smirked.  He couldn’t wait to see what the guys came up with.

Author’s Notes

I started to write after the Virtual Trixie 5K a few years ago.  One of my goals for the year was to finish fanfic that I’d started.  The charities that were listed by the Bob-Whites were the favorite charities of my partners in crime, the WWW girls.  I’m sure you can guess who chose most of them.

A huge thank you to BonnieH and Laura S(motowngirl) for editing.

Disclaimer: Characters from the Trixie Belden series are the property of Random House. They are used without permission, although with a great deal of affection and respect. All other material on these pages copyright 2017 by WendyM. Banner image from cello edition of The Gatehouse Mystery and manipulated by Mary N in Photoshop. Other graphic elements created and copyrighted by Mary N 2017.

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