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Friends, supporters raise funds for injured jockey
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

Rene Douglas


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Published: 7/22/2009 12:01 AM

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When Allyson Campbell and Doreen Razo began planning a golf/dinner/auction fundraiser for injured jockey Rene Douglas, they weren't sure how many people might show up or how much money they could raise to help offset Douglas' medical bills.

"We thought we'd have about 72 to 100 golfers and raise about $25,000," Campbell said.

Well, the 300 or so guests who showed up Monday at Indian Lakes Resort in Bloomingdale had bigger plans. ABC 7 anchor and emcee for the night Ron Magers, former Blackhawks great Denis Savard, past Arlington Park riding champions Mark Guidry and Robby Albarado, and a slew of riders from the current meet were among the supporters.

And by the time the golf, dinner and auction were over, more than $130,000 had been raised for the Douglas family.

"I never would have guessed the numbers would have gotten that high," Campbell said. "I was very surprised."

Douglas and his wife Natalia were unable to attend Monday's event, but they provided a video thank you card to the overflow crowd.

Douglas, who was injured during a race at Arlington on May 23, is still going through intense rehabilitation sessions on a daily basis.

"He's basically in rehab full-time right now," Campbell said. "They're still hoping the swelling will go down and he'll regain the use of his legs."

If the process is getting the six-time Arlington riding champ down, he's not showing it.

"He doesn't have a defeatist attitude," Campbell said. "He and his family are very optimistic.

"His spirits are good."