Paddling for Hope: Woman kayaking down Mississippi River stops in La Crosse

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — A kayaker is going to great lengths for a good cause.

Bobbi Rathert is “Paddling for Hope” down the Mississippi River, from the source in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

She’s raising money for Hope Restores, a La Crosse-based organization that empowers African-Americans through education and advocacy.

Rathert says she’s wanted to paddle down the river for a while but wanted the journey to be extra special.

“I wanted to add something to it that was meaningful,” said Rathert. “Because I volunteer with Hope Restores, and they’re very meaningful to me, I figured it was a no-brainer to put it together.”

Tashyra Bernard, the executive operations director and co-founder of Hope Restores, said she was surprised when she heard Rathert wanted to paddle the entire river to raise money for the organization.

“I immediately thought about me, and I thought ‘Shy! Would you get in the water?’ and then I thought ‘Absolutely not, what are you thinking!'” Bernard said.

Donations from this journey will allow the nonprofit to grow in a big way.

“With Bobbi’s kayaking, her success of going 2,400 miles will mean a new building for Hope Restores,” said Bernard.

After the journey is done, Rathert will hold a record for the oldest woman to have paddled the length of the Mississippi, Bernard said.

If you would like to support Rathert on her journey and see updates, there’s a website with links to donate.

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