Front Page Story – Whitewater Register

Published Thursday, May 19, 2011
Whitewater Register
9-year-old girl starts fitness fundraiser
by Vanessa Lenz – Editor

Frustrated by a lack of fundraising opportunities for children, a little Whitewater girl decided to take things into her own hands.

Morgan Radaj, 9, a 4th grade student at Lincoln Elementary School, has organized a kids only run/walk, which she said is meant to teach young people that they too can make a difference.

“I hope to motivate kids to give to a charity that means something to them, while also having fun with friends and getting a little exercise,” Morgan said.

Morgan said her mother Maggie inspired her to start the Motivating Kids to Give run/walk, which is fast approaching this weekend.
“My mom is always running marathons for charities like the American Cancer Society. I could never participate and wanted to start something that kids could participate in, “Morgan said.

“Then I thought about how cool it would be to have friends to do a race with.”

She moved forward with the fundraiser after seeing a little boy on television who sold fruit to help others in need.

Morgan said she wanted to combine the fundraiser with a physical activity because of her love of running and sports.

“I just wanted to make a difference in the world and help out the people and animals that need it most,” she said.

Maggie said Morgan thought of the kids only run/walk on her own, but she wasn’t surprised by her daughter’s enthusiasm.

She said Morgan always helped her collect donations and work toward a fundraising goal for her runs each year and really took pride in the process.

“Morgan’s participation has always been limited because she’s a kid,” Maggie said. “There are not that many opportunities for kids to participate in something without their parents, not to mention an event that allows them to have a voice, a choice and an opinion.”

The first annual Motivating Kids to Give event will be held on Saturday, May 21 with check-in at 3 p.m. and the run/walk scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Whitewater Middle School track.

The fundraiser is exclusively for kids, ages 5-17, with proceeds going directly to the participant’s choice.

Morgan said she’s encouraged runners to pick a charity that means something to them when signing up.

Morgan is running to support the American Cancer Society and Treyton’s Field of Dreams, which will go toward a memorial baseball field for 6-year-old Treyton Kilar, who was killed by a drunken driver last fall.

“I want to help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays and I want to help honor a little boy who was killed before his time and help build something he would have loved,” Morgan said of her charity choices.

She also gave participants a list of suggested charities which they could support such as Touched by a Paw in Whitewater, Habitat for Humanity International, Make-a-Wish Foundation and the American Red Cross Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami fund.

Morgan stressed that individuals could pick any charity they’d like.
“since every kids is different, every kids should be able to choose what charity means to them,” she said.

Morgan decided to have her event benefit multiple charities after thinking about her best friend Liz, who loves animals.

“Morgan took a look at the difference between herself and Liz and that made her realize that everyone is different and they all have a passion for different things. They have different passions, but can all still come together and motivate each other,” Maggie said.

“Once they choose something they can relate to, it should mean a lot more to each and every one of them.”

Morgan’s friends and family have pitched in to get the event rolling, including her aunt Sissy, who helped with the list of charities and printing the T-shirts for volunteers, her grandpa and mom, who helped with the website and friend Kay from church who is helping coordinate water and snacks for the run. She plans to keep the fundraiser going next year.

“We are so very proud of Morgan. She has a good heart and we couldn’t have asked for a better role model for her younger siblings!” said Maggie.

Runner/walkers can still sign up for the event or show up on Saturday to participate. To register, visit www.MotivatingKidstoGive.com