The Ratliff Family
Our family was turned upside down in the summer of 2009 when, at the age of 61, Nancy Ratliff was diagnosed with ALS. We watched helplessly as the disease quickly, cruelly and inhumanely ravaged Nancy's body, leaving her unable to use her limbs, eat, drink or even breathe on her own. Within a year, she was completely paralyzed, reliant on eye movement alone to communicate, a ventilator to breathe and a feeding tube to eat – her mind tortuously trapped inside her body.
After raising funds for The ALS Association via the organization's annual Walk to Defeat ALS® for two years, we were compelled by the devastation of the disease to make a larger commitment to raising awareness about it and raising money to help put an end to it. And so the 5Kimmswick was born.
Due to our family's connection to The Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery, we approached the restaurant's owner, Mary Hostetter, about the possibility of teaming up to do a fundraiser. It was no surprise that she, her daughter Kim and their staff jumped at the opportunity. Nor was it a surprise that they played an integral part in making it such a success.
We had no idea what to expect for our first year, and we were overwhelmed by the cooperation of the community (especially that of the Blue Owl Restaurant) and the turnout of the participants (all 500+ of them). The race has raised over $20,000 in each of its first three years, over $30,000 the past two years and we hope to continue growing the event and the amount of money that we can raise to help fight ALS.
The race, which winds through historic Kimmswick and the Anheuser Estate along the Mississippi River, is in memory of Nancy Ratliff. She has touched many people's lives as a daycare teacher and director, Montessori school teacher, dedicated wife, mother, and grandmother.
Diagnosed in July 2009, Nancy battled ALS for nearly seven years before passing away on May 4, 2016. She continued to touch lives throughout and still does today through the Kimmswick 5K.