Stephanie Gardiner-Walsh loves to help others.
The former Coaldale resident, who now resides in Winston-Salem, N.C., has always worked hard to raise money and awareness for organizations and groups that benefit the less fortunate, the sick, or bring light to a cause she believes in.
On Aug. 9, she will join Team Triumph during the three-day, 359-mile Promises to Keep Triumph Tour in Wisconsin, in the hopes of raising money for a pair of organzations that help veterans. Walsh's efforts will benefit both Team Red, White and Blue (RWB), an organization that helps disabled veterans as they work to regain normal civilian lives, and myTeam Triumph Wisconsin, a non-profit athletic mentoring program that helps disabled veteran athletes.
According to the Promises to Keep Triumph Tour website, "The tour is a three day cycling event connecting the communities of Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay with a goal to create a statewide, unifying campaign for wounded warriors and grateful citizens to come together in honor and service."
"I love to do one charity event a year," Gardiner-Walsh said, noting that she first began doing running and biking races or triathlons to help groups in need in 2009 and has been running, swimming and biking ever since.
"The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society got me 'back in shape' in 2009 with the Team in Training Triathlon and I haven't looked back since," she said. "I decided on this one in particular because of the cause. I am hugely supportive of Wounded Warriors and other military-focused programs and the location (of the event) is near all my husband's family. It was a good way to do a hard, yet satisfying, challenge while hanging out with family."
Gardiner-Walsh added that she learned about Team Triumph through Facebook and decided that she was up for the challenge.
"It came up on a sidebar advertisement," she said. "I clicked just to see what it was and then asked my family if they would be willing to go along and help me. When they said yes, I joined the team."
The three-day event will kick off in Green Bay, where Stephanie will join 200 riders, both civilian and veteran athletes, as they travel 135 miles to Sun Prairie. The day will conclude with a 5K run.
On Aug. 10, riders will bike 75 miles from Madison to Menomonee Falls, near Milwaukee, and then complete a 5K run.
On Aug. 11, the event will take the riders 115 miles from Milwaukee back to Green Bay, where they will also complete one last 5K run.
Gardiner-Walsh explained that there are 200 participants during each day's ride, but only 22 people have signed up for all three legs of the event.
Throughout her upcoming journey, Gardiner-Walsh will be supported by her husband, Tim, and their families, both in spirit and by opening their homes.
Her parents, Nancy and Rick Ehrenfried, aren't able to go but will be cheering her on from their home in Weatherly.
"Tim's entire family is in Wisconsin so everyone is coming out during the event to support me. I'm looking forward to seeing the cousins and grandparents during this trip and Tim's parents will get a weekend with their family for once."
Gardiner-Walsh's goal for the event is to personally raise $1 per mile or $359. To date, she has raised $300.
To help her reach, and surpass, her goal, donations are being accepted online at http://tinyurl.com/StephanieGWalsh.
For more information on Team RWB, visit http://teamrwb.org.