WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - A Wichita Falls non-profit wants to remind Texomans only because we are in winter months does not mean venomous snakes are not out.
"We had a bite on January 28th this year and we've had bites on January and December [before]," Tammy Reece, Peyton's Project executive director.
The non-profit spreads awareness of venomous snakes and tries to prevent snake bites from occurring.
Reece created the organizations after losing her niece, Peyton Hood, who was just shy of two-years-old. Little Peyton was bitten while she played on a slide at her family's lake house at Possom Kingdom Lake. She stepped on a baby rattlesnake and Reece said that is when 'it struck.'
"The thing I like to say is 'I'm supposed to be helping other people through her because a tragedy is sometimes the best way to reach people,'" Reece said.
Reece said the non-profit has helped save 21 lives after creating their Antivenin Program which provides nine Texoma rural hospitals with viles of antivenom. One of the lives saved was a three-year-old boy.
"That really hit home with me because he is not very much older than her but he was very fortunate that he received the antivenom within 30 min of his bite," Reece said. "He's doing fine. He's living and that's because of [Peyton]."
Reece said the non-profit does not only help someone after a bite but tries to help prevent it. She said cutting the grass, checking for snakes in bushy fields with a stick and checking a child's sandbox before they play can help.
The organization also provides seminars for children's and adult's organizations to educate them about venomous snakes.
To fund these programs the non-profit is holding its fourth annual Spurs and Pearls fundraiser. The event is open to the public for the first time. There are 140 seats available to attend but you do not need to attend to participate in the raffle. Event goers will be entertained by a musical performance from Tim Nichols.
The purpose of the event is to entertain and educate the public and honor Peyton, who the family calls their 'butterfly.'
During last year's event, Reece said the non-profit raised more than $40,000 and she said she hopes to raise $60,000 this time around.