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Lake Zurich fundraiser to benefit girl
By Madhu Krishnamurthy | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/22/2007 11:25 PM | Updated: 10/23/2007 8:31 AM

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Earlier Coverage

Taylor Radtke Seven-year-old Taylor Radtke, diagnosed with a rare tumor that threatens her vision and mobility, needs life-saving surgery that few doctors are willing to perform.

How you can help

DONATE - Donations for Taylor Radtke are being accepted at First Midwest Bank's Johnsburg branch, 3805 N. Johnsburg Road, and McHenry branch, 1308 N. Route 31. Funds raised will be put toward research, travel expenses and medical costs.

SEND A CARD - If you'd like to write the Radtkes a card, please send them courtesy of Amy Mack, Daily Herald, 385 Airport Road, Suite A, Elgin, IL 60123.

As 7-year-old Taylor Radtke and her parents, Jeff and Laurie, prepare for a risky surgery to save her young life, friends and strangers from two communities are stepping up to ease the family's burden.

A benefit is scheduled Nov. 10 in Lake Zurich for the Johnsburg girl whose plight has captured the hearts of residents throughout the suburbs.

Taylor will undergo critical surgery Thursday to remove a brain tumor.

The fundraiser is being organized by Jeff Radtke's buddies at the Lake Zurich Fire Rescue Department and the local firefighters union No. 3191, along with friends and neighbors in Johnsburg.

The goal is to raise as much money as possible to help defray Taylor's medical costs, though no one knows exactly how much that will be, said Danny Gonzalez, a Lake Zurich firefighter/paramedic.

Waiting for updates on Taylor's condition, and brainstorming ways to help her, have become a full-time preoccupation for Lake Zurich firefighters.

"It consumes the days here," Gonzalez said. "Everybody wants to do something. They've come up with a lot of ideas."

The Nov. 10 fundraiser was born out of those ideas. It will likely be the largest community benefit for Taylor. Firefighters hope to draw hundreds to St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church, 11 S. Buesching Road, Lake Zurich.

"We're trying get the two communities involved," Gonzalez said. "Both communities are trying to get donations and stuff for the silent auction. We're just looking for anything. It doesn't really matter."

Support for the Radtkes has started pouring in from neighboring fire departments. For example, Spring Grove fire department donated about 200 steaks, left over from a recent fundraiser, for the auction.

Fliers promoting the event will be sent to area fire departments, posted at grocery stores and on the Lake Zurich fire department's Web site, and passed out in both communities.

Many local businesses and individuals have made cash contributions to Taylor or donated gift baskets for the silent auction. Organizers are seeking more items to auction off, and donations of food for the fundraiser.

The event is going to be kind of an Oktoberfest in November with brats and beer, said Lake Zurich village Trustee Suzanne Branding.

"Our firemen are always there for us. We need to be there for them now," Branding said. "That's part of what a community does."

Donations for Taylor Radtke are being accepted at First Midwest Bank's Johnsburg branch, 3805 N. Johnsburg Road, and McHenry branch, 1308 N. Route 31, as well as all First Midwest Bank branches. Make donation checks out to "The Taylor Radtke fund."

Items for the Nov. 10 silent auction may be dropped off at Lake Zurich Fire Station One, 321 S. Buesching Road.

The fundraiser will be from 4 to 10 p.m. The silent auction from 6 to 8 p.m. followed by dancing and socializing. The cost is $5 for adults, and free for children under 12 years old.