A woman kayaking on the Mississippi River stops in La Crosse


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

Bobbi Rathert “paddles for hope” on the Mississippi River, from its source in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

She raises funds for Hope Restores, a La Crosse-based organization that empowers African Americans through education and advocacy.

Rather said she wanted to paddle the river for a while, but wanted the trip to be very special.

“I wanted to add something meaningful to it,” Rathert said. “Because I volunteer with Hope Restores and they mean so much to me, I thought it was a no-brainer to set it up.”

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

“I immediately thought of myself, and I thought ‘Shy! Would you like to get in the water? and then I thought ‘Absolutely not, what do you think!’ “Bernard said.

Donations from this trip will allow the non-profit organization to grow significantly.

“With Bobbi’s kayak, her success in covering 2,400 miles will mean a new building for Hope Restores,” said Bernard.

When the trip is complete, Rathert will hold the record for the oldest woman to paddle along the Mississippi, Bernard said.

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

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