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Helping others say goodbye

GRANVILLE – When Linda Hodges Casey died of cervical cancer in Arizona in 2008, her family was devastated.

Two of the harder factors the seven brothers and sisters had to deal with involved distance and money.

“My family members all live up in this area, some in Rock Island, some near the Chicago area, and some around here,” said Casey’s daughter, Koreen Judd of Granville.

Judd said some of Casey’s children were able to visit her before she died, but other children, as well as some of Casey’s brothers and sisters, could not afford to do so.

“The heartbreak in my mom’s eyes when she wanted to tell them goodbye but she couldn’t,” Judd said. “It was something that broke our hearts for them.”

Judd’s brother, T.J. Hodges of Yorkville, decided to do something to prevent other families from suffering the same grief, so he started an organization he called Roses from Linda.

“It helps families who cannot afford to visit their terminally ill loved ones,” Judd said. “It helps pay for their flights, trains, busses, hotels, food, travelling expenses, whatever they need.”

The organization has been operational since August, and the non-profit, 501c (3) status will take effect after the first of the year.

Roses from Linda got a celebrity boost recently after Hodges watched the CMT reality show “Bayou Billionaires.”

“It’s kind of a modern day Beverly Hillbillies,” Judd said. “He had been watching the show and loved the way the family worked together, and he thought that this might be someone who would help us get the word out.”

Hodges called the mother, Kitten Dowden, and she agreed to help. She also enlisted the help of Henry Winkler, the Fonz of “Happy Days” fame.

Judd said Roses from Linda has helped two families already, including Lisa Hansen of Spring Valley. Her mother, who recently moved to Tennessee, received her third cancer diagnosis, and Hansen was making trips to Tennessee every other weekend.

“They just couldn’t afford to do it anymore,” Judd said.

So Roses from Linda funded their trip for Thanksgiving.

Judd said she just wants to get out the word about Roses From Linda.

“All we want is just to get more people to know about what’s going on with us,” she said. “The more people that know, the more help that we can get, and the more help that we can give.”

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

For more information, visit the Facebook page “Roses from Linda,” or contact T.J. Hodges at 217- 417-2677 or tj@rosesfromlinda.com.

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