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Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Man's cross-country journey is inspiring

By By the Advocate Editorial Board
June 12, 2014 at 1:12 a.m.


HOW TO DONATE

• Visit rideoflife.org to make donations benefiting the new Hospice of South Texas inpatient center.

• $10 donations guarantee donors a chance to win a Harley-Davidson motorcycle donated by LaQuay Motors in Port Lavaca.

• The winner of the motorcycle will be announced at Randy Smith's Welcome Home Gala at the Spring Creek Place Event Center on Sept. 25.

• Visit RandysRideofLife.blogspot.com for daily updates on Randy Smith's journey to raise money across the United States.

Hospice care is an important part of Victoria's health care community. Everyone wants to be able to live in comfort, and a good hospice center can help ensure patients have some measure of comfort all the way to the end of life.

Hospice of South Texas is in the middle of a fundraising campaign to build a new inpatient center. The center will be 20,000 square feet and contain 12 private rooms with the ability to expand to 36 rooms. To raise the money necessary to build this center, Hospice of South Texas has had a variety of charitable events. But the most amazing fundraising effort is going on right now.

Randy Smith, of Victoria, is riding across the country on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle in an attempt to raise $2 million for the center. The ride has been dubbed the "Ride of Life." Smith's wife, Sophia Smith, was a patient at Hospice of South Texas during the final months of her life as she struggled with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Now, to honor her memory and help raise money to complete the center that can touch the lives of others in need of care, Smith plans to ride his motorcycle from one ocean to another, a trip he and his wife used to talk about but never actually took. Along the way, he will stop in various communities to share his wife's story and encourage others to donate to the center.

We are amazed at Smith's dedication and love for others. ALS is a terrible, degenerative disease that slowly immobilizes the body. Rather than let himself be consumed by the loss of his wife of almost 30 years, he is choosing to honor her memory by taking action and helping others who need the same care she did.

As he makes his way across the country, we wish Smith the best of luck. He is taking an incredible initiative to impact a multitude of lives both in the Crossroads through his fundraising and in other communities across the nation by sharing the story of his wife and her strength as she faced ALS.

Smith's goal is to get 200,000 people to give $10 to Hospice of South Texas by the time he returns in September. That's an affordable amount for almost anyone. We hope Smith is successful. His story has inspired us, and we hope it also inspires our readers. Thank you, Randy Smith, for your determination to help others by sharing your own family story. You have a big heart.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.

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