Much like the desire of the Flu-Free Quad-Cities program it helps support, cutting a $50,000 check to support the Genesis Foundation has become an annual ritual for Quad-Cities River Bandits owner Dave Heller.

For the third straight year, the River Bandits presented the Genesis Foundation with a check to benefit the Genesis Flu-Free Quad-Cities program, the Genesis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the Camp Genesis program which assists the families of cancer patients.

Heller presented the check to Missy Gowey, executive director of the Genesis Foundation, in the library at Jefferson Elementary School in Davenport where Ken Croken, Genesis chief marketing officer, talked to students about the importance of getting an annual flu shot and the River Bandits’ team mascot, Rascal, received a simulated flu shot.

“All of these programs are personal to me. Both of my two boys spent time in neonatal care, my father passed away because of cancer and anything we can do to help keep our children healthy is well worth it,’’ Heller said. “We’re happy to help.’’

The donation includes a contribution from the River Bandits as well as a portion of the proceeds from every ticket sold throughout the year to amusement rides at Modern Woodmen Park.

Visiting nurses have administered 8,568 flu shots at more than 80 elementary schools in the Quad-City region this year, a service paid for by donations such as the one from the River Bandits.

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Because of the need for annual flu shots, Gowey said fundraising efforts for the project must be ongoing.

“The shots cost around $19 apiece, so donations like this help us help a lot of people in the Quad-Cities,’’ Gowey said.