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Passionate animal advocate uses hospice wish to hold fundraiser

 

Kenneth Madsen describes his wife of almost 51 years as “very loving, very warm and she loves animals.”

Cathy Madsen is the founder of the Friends of the Animal Shelter, a group she started about 20 years ago when a report about the euthanasia rate in St. Joseph’s animal shelter pushed her to action.

Now, Cathy is a patient at Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care, but that’s not something she lets get in the way of her passion.

“Her wish was to have a huge fundraiser and donate all proceeds back to Friends of the Animal Shelter,” Pamela Thompson, who works in provider relations for Crossroads Hospice, said. “So Crossroads Hospice and Palliative Care joined up with Friends of the Animal Shelter and we’re gonna make this wish for her come true.”

The Shake, Wag and Roll Friends of the Animal Shelter Fundraiser was held at Ol’ MacDonald’s Farm Sunday afternoon and featured live music, food, vendors and a raffle — and a good time for people and pets.

Crossroads Hospice Gift of a Day program fulfills wishes for all of their patients, and while they are all special in their own way, this was a unique occasion for Thompson.

“This is the first one I’ve been involved with where the patient wanted to selflessly give back to the community and this one has just been so extra special for me,” she said.

Everything at the event, including all raffle prizes, had been donated by the community. Kenneth was touched that after decades of giving to others, his wife received the appreciation she deserved.

“I’m just awed,” he said. “Just to think the community is doing something like this for her is just more than I ever expected.”

Cathy’s health prevented her from staying at the event for very long, but the smile on her face as the room erupted into applause when she was wheeled into the venue and later petted puppies said it all.

“She loves it,” Thompson said.

Kenneth said he is immensely proud of his wife for growing the Friends of the Animal Shelter into the organization it is today, and there was really only one thing he wanted to add, “Just that I love her,” he said.