PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The 35th Annual Duck Race hosted by Peoria’s Center for Prevention of Abuse is just a week away.

“It brings hope, it brings joy, it’s a lot of fun. And it raises a lot of money in addition to raising friends,” said CEO Carol Merna.

For the milestone year, the center is hoping to sell 35,000 rubber ducks.

“It’s our signature fundraiser. We’re known for the duck race and we’re very proud of that. We do make a lot of friends but it also raises important money that allows us to support clients with free and confidential services,” said Merna.

Donna Alessi has been volunteering with the center for almost 12 years. She does so in honor of her niece who was a victim of domestic violence and killed in a homicide-suicide.

“We all felt helpless, we didn’t know what to do,” Alessi said. “But then I just decided that volunteering was in a way of remembering her and maybe doing something for someone else. To keep them from being in the position that she was in.”

Alessi and her niece’s best friend formed a team that currently has about people selling ducks. But it’s more than just about selling ducks for Alessi. She wants to make sure people know about the services the center provides.

“A lot of people don’t know they think the duck race is for just abuse. But there’s a lot of other departments that it carries over for,” she said.

Merna said the more help the merrier when it comes to supporting the duck race.

“We do need everybody to come to bat and as we say all wings on deck, to come and join us and support the duck race,” she said.

The race is Aug. 26 at the East Side Center in East Peoria. Ducks are $5/each. The more you buy the better your chance of winning the $10,000 grand prize. To adopt a duck and learn more about the duck race click here.