In memory of kindness
Northern Illinois Hospice has been a part of the Beidler family story since 2001 when Joan Beidler, the matriarch of the family, was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Joan and her husband, Ken, called Northern Illinois Hospice and started a relationship with our agency that continues to this day. Ken never forgot how Northern Illinois Hospice was there to help him care for his wife. Ken was deeply grateful and became a donor and friend, supporting the organization in every way possible.
In 2016, Joan and Ken’s daughter, Julie, was based in Virginia with the U.S. Army when Ken started becoming forgetful and struggling more frequently with painful complications from childhood polio. Julie made the decision to move back to Rockford to care for Ken, taking up residence in her childhood home. After Ken was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and suffered a stroke, his life became filled with frequent doctor’s appointments, emergency room visits and hospital stays. Julie knew she needed to call Northern Illinois Hospice, recalling, “I was feeling broken and frustrated, but also relieved.” Julie, caring for her dad alone, decided to take advantage of all the resources and support Northern Illinois Hospice had to offer. Julie especially valued the companionship Northern Illinois Hospice volunteer Steve gave to her dad, recalling how her dad referred to Steve as “my buddy.”
When Ken died on July 28, 2017, Julie thought it only fitting to direct memorial gifts be made in Ken’s name to Northern Illinois Hospice Foundation. Julie knew these gifts would help give families the guidance and support she received. Julie has maintained her family’s relationship with Northern Illinois Hospice, becoming a passionate supporter just as her dad had done before her. Julie is also now a Northern Illinois Hospice volunteer, giving the gift of companionship that Steve gave to her dad.