After a long battle with cancer, Rhonda Shail passed away at Algonquin Grace Hospice Huntsville earlier this summer.
Rick Shail, Rhonda’s husband, was blown away by the support and care their family received and he knew he had to find a way to support Hospice and all they do for the community.
“The way Hospice cared for Rhonda still has me so overwhelmed because they treated her with such dignity and respect. While she only spent 48 hours there, they were absolutely incredible and did so much for her,” he said.
The couple were members of Muskoka Thunder Motorcycle Riders so Shail decided to talk to the president and see if the club would be up for a fundraiser. Members were excited to support Hospice in memory of Rhonda so they quickly got planning and Muskoka Thunder’s Ride for Rhonda was born.
On Sunday, September 19, the club began their ride in Gravenhurst, took the scenic route through Rosseau, and ended at Hospice Huntsville.
The club members paid a fee to join the ride plus they each fundraised individually, together raising $4,000. Gayle Spears, Rhonda’s best friend, also refinished and raffled off a dresser that sold for over $1,400, making the grand total that would be donated to Hospice Huntsville $5,400.
Algonquin Grace supports anyone in their end-of-life journey and they also offer grief support services, all completely free.
Hospice Huntsville only receives 40 per cent of its operating costs through government funding so is require to raise the remaining 60 per cent of their budget, which works out to approximately $1,800 a day.
The funds raised from thebRide for Rhonda will go directly to resident care.
“It’s extremely heartwarming to see how family members and friends can come together to support hospice in their own way,” said Melissa Polischuk of Hospice Huntsville. “I was there when the riders finished and it was so lovely and emotional to see them all come together in Rhonda’s honour. They were such a wonderful group of people. This really showed us all that there are so many ways you can give back to Hospice in your own creative way in order to support our residents.”
Shail realized once the ride was over that he wants to make this an annual event, and each year make it bigger and better to continue helping Hospice Huntsville.
“I’ve got a whole year to prepare now so I’m hopeful we will bring awareness to what hospice does for this community,” he said.
Learn more about creating your own fundraiser for Hospice Huntsville here.
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