Kathy’s Fund Assists Family with Last Wish


Vickie Holmen developed a special love for horses and dogs while growing up on her family’s farm in Fairmont, Ill. So it was just like old times for her when she spent some time with Doc and Duchess as part of the Kathy’s Fund last wish program administered by Black River Memorial Hospital’s B-Home Services and Supplies.

Doc is a horse and Duchess is a dog owned by Dena Graff, BRMH Hospice-Homecare director. The animals enjoyed snuggles and belly rubs from Holmen and other residents during a visit to Meadowbrook senior living facility in Black River Falls.

Holmen spent her life raising horses and was involved in standardbred harness racing as a groom traveling all over the U.S. One of her favorite memories involved a racing horse named Truth & Nails. Holmen said he was very high-strung and she was the only one who could calm him down. “If you didn’t pay enough attention to him, he would kick or bite, so I always had to be on the lookout,” she said with a smile.

Holmen shared another memory about her daughter, Leellen: “A mare had foaled in the field and Leellen crept in to play with the baby, and it charged after her. The mare stepped in between, shielding Leellen from being hurt. Our dog, Smokey, grabbed her by the collar and drug her out of the paddock.”

“Although there have been some times when things weren’t so good, as long as I was with dogs and horses, I was happy.”

Kathy’s Fund has provided many last wishes for families, such as a special meal, a personal sound amplifier for a hearing-impaired patient, flowers for an anniversary, transportation needs, and one last round and lunch for an avid golfer and his family.

“We are always happy to provide special times for our patients,” Graff said. “With Kathy’s Fund, we can provide some lasting memories for our patients and their families.”

Anyone interested in contributing to Kathy’s Fund can contact B-Home Services and Supplies at 715-284-3662. 


Through Kathy’s Fund, a special wish was granted allowing Vickie Holmen an opportunity to spend time with her favorite animals. The horse, Doc, was more than willing to get some snuggles.

Vickie Holden offers treats to Duchess.

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