WAXAHACHIE — There is an old adage that claims to give is better than to receive and one young girl with a congenital heart condition plans to put the notion to the test.

Diagnosed in 2013, Gabby Washington hopes to raise awareness and funds for her birthday to help those who helped her.

“Two years ago, Gabby was diagnosed, and strangely enough, she was born with it, and we didn’t know. It just so happened that we had an EKG and in that, we found out,” recalled Larry Washington, Gabby’s father.

Sponsored by Children’s Hospital, where Gabby underwent open-heart surgery, she was later invited to Camp Moss — a campsite that serves children with chronic medical and physical challenges.

“They put on a one week of camping for kids they call ‘zippers,’ individuals that have had heart disease or any kind of heart surgery. They actually helped with her transition through the surgery and after the surgery” Washington explained. “She really enjoyed it and wanted to make sure to give back, and her way of giving back is raising funds for the camp. So she decided, for her birthday as opposed to getting gifts, that individuals can donate money to go to Camp Moss."

Hosting the first event at their home in 2016, the Washington’s received an unexpected turnout for their daughter’s eleventh birthday.

“Initially we thought it was going to be about 12 kids, but it topped out at 32 kids. We built carnival booths, and she had a large donation to give,” Washington said.

Planning their second annual fundraiser this year for both organizations, a Christmas trip to Cabo San Lucas added pizzazz to the plans.

“We experienced 'The Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt,' and Gabby said, ‘This is what I want to do for next year.’ So here we are,” Washington chuckled.

Themed with the popular reality show, The Amazing Race, Gabby’s version will be held in Downtown Waxahachie, beginning at Getzendaner Park.

“They’re going through Downtown Waxahachie, looking for clues and the answers to the clues we have. We’ve partnered with a few retail stores and the museum, and they’re going to have certain questions, which allows them the next clue,” Washington explained.

He also noted that the hunt would be not only fun but also educational, as each player learns the history of Downtown Waxahachie through the game.

As of now, Washington estimates around 50 participants, watching the list expand with competitors from Life School, Camp Moss, and Children’s Hospital.

“I didn’t anticipate for it to be as large as it is now,” Washington admitted.

With volunteers patrolling the crosswalks and ensuring safety, the scavenger hunt is sure to be a family favorite.

“Ultimately, we’re hoping to raise the awareness of heart disease and assure parents that kids should be tested. We would love to make it a yearly event in Waxahachie because Gabby loves being down there,” he concluded.

Gabby’s Amazing Race will be held at Getzendaner Park, located at 400 South Grand Avenue, Saturday, April 1 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. To RSVP, call (817)-739-016. A $10 donation is requested.


Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer