"We have more runners and walkers signed up this year than we’ve ever had before," said Jeff Rath. "I think it’s going to be a good year."
The event also will include a volleyball tournament, raffles drawings, silent auction and live music and entertainment from the Turning Point Dancers, Red Grammar, Mirror Image, Zak Matthews Band, Pop Fletcher and The Hucksters and South Band.
"All of the bands are donating their time for us," Rath said.
The event is in memory of Hailey Rath, who died at age 13 in December 2005 in an automobile accident. Rath said many people attend the event each year to honor his daughter.
"We get close to a 1,000 people who attend throughout the day every year," Rath said. "It’s a community-based event."
Proceeds are donated to the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics Organ Procurement Organization, Beloit Area EICA Lutheran Youth and Lutherdale Bible Camp. Rath said about $200,000 has been raised during the past eight years.
"That’s not bad, but it’s just not about the monetary donations. It’s about organ and tissue donation," Rath said. "So far, Hailey has touched 75 lives through organ and tissue donations. If Hailey has touched 75 lives, imagine how many lives can be touched if 1,000 people signed up to be organ and tissue donors."
Planning for the Hailey Rath Memorial is held throughout the year.
"We start planning the day after the event," Rath said. "In fact, we already have bands lined up for next year."
Rath said the event would not be successful without the volunteers and the sponsors. He said many people support the event each year.
"We have so many volunteers come out the day of the event. In fact, we don’t call them volunteers, we call them service providers because they’re providing a service for us," Rath said. "We can’t say enough about The Rock Bar & Grill. The staff has been phenomenal to us. A lot of the fundraisers in the community wouldn’t be held without The Rock. We have sponsors who come back every year. It’s about giving back. If you’ve never volunteered before, do it because you will just feel amazing. People come out in Hailey’s memory and to promote organ and tissue donation. It’s amazing."
The Hailey Rath Memorial was started by the Beloit Memorial High School class of 1977 as part of its 30-year reunion.
"The first year we had it at the Riverside Park Pavilion, and we just had the run," Rath said. "The following year, we started having the bands. It’s just grown from there."
More information is online at http://www.HaileyRathMemorial.org.