Evansdale cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook, who have been missing now for nine weeks, will be part of a national missing children car race, called the Fireball Run, the girls' families learned just this week.
Chris Stechman is the girls' cousin. He lives with his family in Dubuque and has helped head the search effort and awareness-raising in the tri-state area.
"We're just very hopeful that somebody will recognize them and, just as a reminder, it's a $50,000 reward for somebody who helps find them, so between the incentive there and just do the right thing," Stechman said, he hopes somebody comes forward.
Since 2007, the Fireball Run has helped recover more than 30 missing children, according to the race's Website. That's through its program, Race to Recover America's Missing Children.
Each race car team sponsors one missing child and hands out flyers and raises awareness all throughout the route.
According to the race's Website, the Fireball Run elicits $29 million in media exposure. Race organizers say they use that to focus on highlighting the cases of the missing children.
Stechman learned that each of his cousins had been paired with a race car team. Elizabeth's case will be paired with car number 43, and Lyric will have car number 13.
"13, in our case, is going to be the lucky number for us," Stechman said.
This year's Fireball Run starts on Sept. 22 in Independence, Ohio and ends a week later in Bangor, Maine.
"We're hoping, being an area of the country that probably hasn't heard much about our cousins, after two months, who knows where they could be," Stechman said. "It's not just this area that needs to know what's going on. It's the whole country."
It's each car racing team's goal to distribute 1,000 posters of their missing child along the route.
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