PDT Staff Writer
Riders sporting sunglasses and Harley-Davidson shirts and vests by the hundreds lined the parking lot adjacent to the SOMC Hospice Center on 25th Street in Portsmouth Saturday afternoon with their motorcycles. The sun beat down on the asphalt, and the bandannas came in handy to keep the perspiration off until they could take to the breeze of the open air.
“It’s the Memorial Ride,” SOMC Hospice Director Teresa Ruby said. “We started this three years ago. We had a patient who was an avid motorcyclist, and it was his idea to start it, and we’ve just taken it from there and we’ve kept it going. We’ve got a lot of great energy and turnout with it. It’s a fun day for us.”
Ruby said the proceeds from the Ride go to the Hospice Caritas Fund.
“We provide care to patience in our Hospice organization regardless of their ability to pay. It goes toward that,” Ruby said. “But it also goes toward special wishes, celebrations. We’ve had weddings. We’ve celebrated fiftieth anniversaries. We’ve celebrated 100th birthdays, and we’ve sent a patient to a Barbra Streisand concert. We had one gentleman who wanted to fly over his home in Minford and take a picture of it. And so we worked with people to be able to do that.”
Ruby said there were scores of other practical needs for which the money would be needed.
“The long-term care of dealing with illnesses is a lot of hardship,” Ruby said. “We’ve had patients who have gotten behind in some electric bills, or gas bills, or their air conditioning goes off in the middle of the summer and they’ve got lung disease, and they can’t survive without it. So we’ll make sure we get their air conditioner fixed, and different practical things like that too.”
Ruby said the purpose of the Ride is for participants to have fun doing what they love to do — riding.
“That’s what we’ve tried to do with this,” Ruby said. “We try to do the same thing with our Hike For Hospice. A lot of them come because they have had a loved one served by Hospice, or they know someone who has been served by Hospice, and it has made a difference in their lives. But we want it to be fun. This is not a somber event. It is meant for people to come together, have fun, and celebrate. It is meant to be a celebration.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org