Karen Radtke, right, with sister Sue Radkte and their mother at a Wisconsin parade raising money for breast cancer research.
Karen Radtke is heading to Florida at the end of the month, but she won’t be taking in the sights or relaxing on the Gulf Coast.
Radtke will be walking 60 miles over three days during Halloween weekend as part of Tampa Bay’s Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure.
The upcoming breast cancer fundraiser will be Radtke’s third 3-Day event, but definitely won’t be her last. She plans to walk in all 15 of the events hosted across the country.
Radtke started the walk-a-thon tradition with her sister three years ago as a way for the two to get together and get healthy, she explained.
“I saw an article in a magazine about the 3-Day walk and at that time my sister and I had started getting together on weekends once a year,” said Radtke. “I thought it would be fun to do something physical during our weekends and also do something worthwhile.”
Her sister, who lives in Wisconsin, jumped on board and a tradition was born. Three years later, Radtke covered 60 miles first in Minnesota and last year in the nation’s capital, where she was chosen to be a flag bearer during both the opening and closing ceremonies honoring her husband’s aunt who lost her battle with cancer in 2008.
The weekend walk-a-thons are packed with inspiring and courageous women of all ages who join together to stop a leading killer of sisters, mothers, wives and aunts, explained Radtke.
Walkers cover a lot of ground, but also congregate in pink camps and enjoy entertainment and each other’s company. Moving ceremonies and speeches by survivors are constant reminders of what the events are all about.
Each walker in 3-Day events is expected to raise a minimum of $2,300, which funds both global breast cancer research and local community programs that support education, screening and treatment.
The Radtke sisters, however, have far surpassed that minimum fundraising requirement. Donning brightly decorated braziers, the two strutted their stuff — and raised some serious cash — in two Wisconsin parades over the summer.
“We marched in a Fourth of July Parade, which was actually the second year we did that,” said Radtke. “We had decorated these bras, so we wore the bras and we had pink buckets and pink bracelets and we walked through the crowd asking people to donate. We were flaunting the girls out there and we raised a lot of money.”
The sisters then took part in the Washburn, WI, homecoming parade where the ladies again strutted their stuff and walked away with more than $1,000 each.
Since then, Radtke has continued to fundraise, setting up a table at The Marketplace and reaching out over the internet. She is hoping for a final push to get her tally to $10,000. Last week she only needed a few hundred to reach that goal.
“This has been an amazing experience participating in this event for the past two years and seeing how generous everyone is,” said Radtke. “I know that $10,000 is a lot of money and I am so grateful that I have friends I can call on to help me reach this goal.”
To help Radtke reach, and exceed, her goal go to http://www.the3day.org/goto/karenradtke.
“Every dollar will make a difference in finding a cure for this deadly disease,” she said.