CI Heroes: Hospice Home Hero

Published 08/05 2014 08:25PM

Updated 08/05 2014 10:47PM

PEORIA - Most people don't like to think of death.  
Rhonda Strappe certainly didn't think of her own, but she did think of other people's final days, and how to make them as peaceful as possible.
And it turned out to be something she needed sooner than she ever expected.
“He got me started in 2007, and so I got my own motorcycle and that's what we did on weekends,” explains Strappe.
A hobby quickly turned into helping others.
 “St. Jude rides, and that helps the kids go to a place to get better. Well, we needed something for the adults."
That's when Rhonda Strappe and her husband tom felt called to raise money for the new OSF Richard L. Owens Hospice Home.
“It’s a place where people can come and be comfortable for their last days of living,” explains Strappe.
They made $6,000 dollars through their ride, but didn't realize how much of a role it would play in their own lives.
“On September 1st, Tom hit two deer, Strappe explains. “He was getting better until 10 days into his injury, meningitis and pneumonia set in.” I was offered the hospice home as alternative care in his final days, Strappe continues. “I took them up on it right away. This was the place for him to be.”
A place of peace, comfort, and compassion,
It offers families a place to be together in the last days of life.
And has all the comforts of home, giving patients a chance to do things they couldn't, like take a bath, because of their illness.
Rhonda and Tom have a room in their name at the home because of all they did to make it a reality.
Even though her husband is gone, she's bringing the ride back this year.
Because, now, Rhonda has even more of a reason to raise money and awareness, saying, “I want to keep it going for him."
The hospice home doesn't turn anyone away.
The money raised goes to fly families in or pay for gas so their loved one can be surrounded by friends and family in their final days.
Over the past six years, Rhonda and Tom raised $30,000 for several causes.
And Rhonda says she'd love for you to ride for the hospice home this year.

The Tom Strappe Memorial Ride benefiting the hospice home is Saturday, August 23rd.
Sign in is at Burnzee's Bar and Grill in Brimfield from 11am to 1pm. Cost is $10 a person.
A copy of the event flyer is attached to this story.

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