The third-annual event to honor late Verona Area High School graduate Katie Udelhofen will have room for plenty more people than the first two.

This year’s “We Believe” spring benefit on Saturday, April 27 – which began in 2017 after Katie’s July 2016 death – has moved from The Brink Lounge, where it’s been each of the last two years, to Madison’s Alliant Energy Center.

Katie’s mother Susan, who has led much of the event’s planning with her husband John, told the Press that the money raised from the first two years has gone to some tangible research at the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Cancer Center. Money raised will also help Make-A-Wish kids and the American Family Children’s Hospital this year.

Susan met this year with the doctors at the center, and said it helped solidify that the fundraising they’ve done makes a difference – citing a bone marrow trial currently underway that could have helped her daughter.

“Does it really matter? It does,” she said. “I know in my soul there is a Katie out there that is going to be saved because of this. And I know that my Katie’s name is on it.”

There will now be a second name on it, as well. Susan said they added Rayce Raschka, who died in June last year at 18 years old, to the event. She has worked with his family to make honoring him a central feature of the event, in addition to Katie.

That event will be from 5-10 p.m., with music from area acts including Sauk Prairie High School’s show choir, Verona vocal jazz group The Accidentals and The Red Hot Horn Dawgs. There will also be games, a silent auction and a raffle.

Susan is hopeful attendance can grow with the venue, and they’ll be able to make another contribution to the Carbone center this year after giving $24,000 to the effort last year.

“We are at such a cutting edge of cancer research and cures and our little fundraiser is part of that,” Susan said. “It’s about celebrating life, it’s about being grateful, it’s about paying it forward.”

For more information or to read Susan’s blog, visit webelieveinkatie.com.

– Scott Girard