Laurie Stroup Smith

Loveland, Ohio – William (Bill) Stroup, a resident of Loveland for 45 years, has been a patient at Hospice of Cincinnati Blue Ash since early March. Several weeks ago, he mentioned to his son that he would like to go to Belterra Park, formerly known as River Downs, to watch the horses race as he had each summer for decades.

Family members discussed the possibility with his care team, knowing the pandemic would present additional challenges that could not be ignored. Instead of allowing him to leave the safety of the facility, the decision was made to bring the races to him.

On August 10, Hospice staff decorated Bill’s room with horse-related banners, brightly-colored signs, and cutouts of jockey helmets.

In addition to brightening up his room, they borrowed horse-racing DVDs from the library, purchased a Kentucky Derby t-shirt for him to wear, and brought him a sweet tea “mint julep.”

The highlight of the day was the interaction with Mocha and Graham Crackers, two miniature horses from Cincinnati Therapeutic Riding and Horsemanship. After spending time at Bill’s window, the ponies were led through the hospice halls for the enjoyment of other patients.

Bill and his family especially want to thank Karen Hipsher, LSW, and her team for facilitating this phenomenal experience. Hospice once again went above and beyond, taking into consideration the emotional needs of a patient in addition to the physical and spiritual needs while creating beautiful memories for everyone involved.


Laurie Stroup Smith grew up in Loveland and graduated from Loveland High School in 1994. She writes Amish and Contemporary Romance stories.