Over the past 18 years, Cara Olson, director of human resources for Sendik’s Food Market, has clocked a lot of time on golf courses and long-distance running courses in her free time.
But not in exactly the way you might expect.
Rather than signing up for golf tournaments and 5-K or 8-K races, she’s been organizing them – in honor of her late brother.
“My brother had passed away from a brain tumor and our friends and family said: ‘Let’s think about things he loved to do and find a good way to remember him,’” Olson said. “It started as a golf outing, and it just kind of took off.”
For nearly two decades, Olson and her family have run an organization called “Run With Wolfes” that raises money for brain cancer through an annual golf tournament and 5K/8K run and walk.
Though the nonprofit’s name may seem to include a typo, it doesn’t – Olson’s maiden name is Wolfe.
“My brother and I used to do a lot of run/walks when he was fighting his battle,” Olson said. “Every single year, it’s completely unfortunate that somebody in some family has to deal with this. For us, it’s a way to join forces. It’s all about how can we provide help to people and band together to say: ‘We’re going to fight this and find a cure.’”
Since Olson and the rest of the Wolfe family began running the events 18 years ago, they’ve raised around $960,000 for brain cancer research, which they’ve donated to the UW Carbone Cancer Center in Madison. This year, she said they hope to get enough donations to surpass the $1 million benchmark.