More MS news articles for June 2001

Oahu manís perseverance through MS is inspirational

Friday, June 15, 2001
By Helen Altonn

Richard Radtke, who thought it would be impossible to have a family and career after being stricken at age 27 with multiple sclerosis, has excelled at both.

The University of Hawaii oceanographer, father of two, will be honored by the Hawaii Division of the National MS Society as 2001 MS Father of the Year.

"Rich Radtke is one of the world's leading oceanographers and has been able to overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve success with his career, his family and his personal goals," said Tomma Irvine, chair of the division's Advisory Council.

Radtke and his wife, Judith, have a 7-year-old daughter, Ocean, who attends Kapunahala School in Kaneohe. He also has a son, David, 4, who lives in San Diego and stays with them during vacations.

Radtke, his wife and daughter will spend Saturday night at Camp Erdman with the MS Bike Tour 2001 cyclists for a Father's Day observance.

He will speak to the group and will be recognized by the local MS division for his accomplishments as a parent despite his disease.

"When MS engulfed my life," Radtke said, "many problems arose which led to a breakdown in the family structure and resulted in divorce. Everything that was near and dear to me was stripped away."

Although the odds were against him, he said he continued to dream that one day he would have a family again, and his dream came true.

"My career as an oceanographer has continued to evolve despite the physical struggle, and I have been blessed to include my family in many of my travels around the world," he said.

Radtke serves on the board and Advisory Council of the National MS Society in Hawaii. He is on the Society's Speakers Bureau and is current chairman of Client Programs.

He also holds many other community positions, serving as a board member of the ALOHA Special Technology Access Center, the Hawaii Center for Independent Living and Easter Seals Hawaii.

He directs the Ocean Potentiality Program and the Dream Catcher Program.

His recent awards include the Robert W. Clopton Award for Community Service, the Easter Seals Humanitarian Award and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

He is a former recipient of the MS Society's National Achievement Award.