Friday, June 15, 2001

MS Society to raise
money on the road

The Hawaii chapter will hold
this year's 50-mile bike ride
to raise research funds

One man's perseverance

By Helen Altonn

A leisurely 50-mile bike ride, overnight camping and Father's Day celebration are featured as part of the MS Bike Tour 2001 this weekend on Oahu.

The Hawaii Division of the National MS Society is sponsoring the bicycle tour to raise funds for research, information and programs for people with multiple sclerosis.

Lyn Moku, manager of the Hawaii Division, said the bike tour, last held here in 1994, is the MS Society's premier event on the mainland. "So we're really hoping to bring it back and make it big in Hawaii also."

"I have to keep reminding folks, it is a ride, not a race," said John B. Kelley, president of the Hawaii State Cycling Association and past president of the Hawaii Bicycling League, who is chairing the MS event.

"Much as I love the Century Ride, people get jazzed and start going fast. The whole idea of the ride is to enjoy it and not to be in a hurry, to appreciate their surroundings."

Participants have all day to ride to the YMCA's Camp Erdman in Mokuleia, starting at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow at Hawaii Pacific University in Kaneohe, said Kelley. Check-in is at 6 a.m.

Kelley, vice president for corporate planning and investor relations at Alexander & Baldwin Inc., said he rode in the MS Bike Tour with his son in 1993 and 1994, going from Hawaii Loa to Turtle Bay.

He said he thought it would be nice to go a little farther and have something more economical for people, such as a camp-out.

"I have this strange pipe dream about a way for people who like to ride but want to enjoy their surroundings," he said.

"With this ride in 1994, I was riding back to town on Sunday morning, and I could smell coffee brewing in peoples' homes. I could smell bacon being fried.

"At one point there were two obviously Hawaiian ladies on their way to church and, on the other side of the road, I could actually smell their perfume.

"You could touch things and be touched by them in a way you never could in an automobile."

The MS Bike Tour 2001 is a chance for people to feel a little of that and have a weekend away without having to pack elaborately, he said.

He said about five members of his bicycle racing team, Cambia Mento d'Andaturo (meaning "change of pace"), will act as course marshals, looking out for the bikers and carrying tools and spare parts if needed.

The only requirement for a participant is to raise $250 in pledges, he said.

"It could not be for a more worthy cause."

The money is to support research and treatment and help families and people afflicted with MS, Kelley said.

He said it was hoped to have 100 participants, but the number more likely will be 25 to 30.

After breakfast Sunday, the bikers will cycle back to HPU, where Compadres will provide refreshments.

For more information about the MS Bike Tour 2001, to participate or volunteer to help, call Moku at 532-0811.

For information about multiple sclerosis, call the National MS Society at 1-800-FIGHT MS, log onto the Web site at, or e-mail

Oahu man’s perseverance
through MS is inspirational

By Helen Altonn

Richard Radtke, who thought it would be impossible to have a family and career after being stricken at age 27 with multiple sclerosis, has excelled at both.

The University of Hawaii oceanographer, father of two, will be honored by the Hawaii Division of the National MS Society as 2001 MS Father of the Year.

"Rich Radtke is one of the world's leading oceanographers and has been able to overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve success with his career, his family and his personal goals," said Tomma Irvine, chair of the division's Advisory Council.

Radtke and his wife, Judith, have a 7-year-old daughter, Ocean, who attends Kapunahala School in Kaneohe. He also has a son, David, 4, who lives in San Diego and stays with them during vacations.

Radtke, his wife and daughter will spend Saturday night at Camp Erdman with the MS Bike Tour 2001 cyclists for a Father's Day observance.

He will speak to the group and will be recognized by the local MS division for his accomplishments as a parent despite his disease.

"When MS engulfed my life," Radtke said, "many problems arose which led to a breakdown in the family structure and resulted in divorce. Everything that was near and dear to me was stripped away."

Although the odds were against him, he said he continued to dream that one day he would have a family again, and his dream came true.

"My career as an oceanographer has continued to evolve despite the physical struggle, and I have been blessed to include my family in many of my travels around the world," he said.

Radtke serves on the board and Advisory Council of the National MS Society in Hawaii. He is on the Society's Speakers Bureau and is current chairman of Client Programs.

He also holds many other community positions, serving as a board member of the ALOHA Special Technology Access Center, the Hawaii Center for Independent Living and Easter Seals Hawaii.

He directs the Ocean Potentiality Program and the Dream Catcher Program.

His recent awards include the Robert W. Clopton Award for Community Service, the Easter Seals Humanitarian Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

He is a former recipient of the MS Society's National Achievement Award.

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