Kirsten Jensen, Volunteer

Kirsten Jensen has been a JourneyCare volunteer for over 4 years. She loves the variety of volunteer opportunities at JourneyCare. In addition to her work with Camp Courage, she sees adult as well as pediatric patients, participates in Braveheart Programming, is a member of the Volunteer Advisory Council, and helps maintain and install some of the gardens on the Barrington campus.

Chris Dierbeck, Therapy Dog Handler

Mr. Rogers always said, “When you are scared, look for the helpers.” Being a therapy dog handler with Sydney allows us to be helpers when someone is sick, scared or just needs a moment of peace. Whether we are visiting quietly or being more animated, our time with patients of all ages gives us as much pleasure as it seems to give others. I believe volunteering has made me a better person, and I am proud to be a helper.

Patrick Curtin, Volunteer

Patrick Curtin is a native Chicagoan who has been a volunteer with JourneyCare for four years. He is a board member of the Rainbow Garden Guild and participates in storytelling in various venues in the city. 

Jodie Diegel

Jodie Diegel

Jodie Diegel RN, MBA is the Founder and current President of the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, as well as past President and Founder of Mane in Heaven. Her dream and vision has enabled JourneyCare, the Barrington community and the Chicago area at large to benefit from miniature therapy horse visits and, soon, miniature therapy donkey visits!

The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program, located in Barrington, is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to enrich lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond, while advocating for animal therapy standards of excellence. We offer the Barrington-area's most experienced animal-assisted miniature therapy equine teams who have been visiting since 2013.

Please help us continue our mission of Sharing of Unconditional Love and SOUL to SOUL visits! We do not charge for visits and are funded solely by generous donations and Sponsors, as well as future grants. Visit our website at

Sarah Walker-Bending, Social Worker

Sarah Walker-Bending has been a social worker for 22 years, practicing in Arizona. Illinois, Wisconsin and Zimbabwe. She is currently a part-time social worker at JourneCare's Woodstock CareCenter and assists throughout the agency.

Bob Lee

Through personal experience, philanthropist and longtime JourneyCare supporter Bob Lee recognized the importance of advance care planning and became an advocate for community outreach that highlights the importance of education and awareness on advance care planning. 

JourneyCare’s Advance Care Planning community initiatives are supported through Bob’s 2001, 2007 and 2012 Rides for 3 Reasons and Jan Gierlach’s 2017 Ride for 3 Reasons.

Judith Nerad, MD

Dr. Judith Nerad was raised in Illinois, studied Nutritional Sciences in college and graduate school, then went to medical school. She specialized in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases, and practiced Infectious Diseases at Stroger Hospital and the CORE Center, taking care of HIV- infected patients. In 2012, she began working part time in hospice care. By 2013, she transitioned to practicing only hospice care, inpatient and team-based care.

Dr. Nerad is board certified in Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and has the Hospice Medical Director Certification. she also have a Master’s of Science in Nutritional Sciences.

She's married with two teenage daughters, and has a Golden Retriever.

Debbie Lee, Social Worker

Debbie Lee is an MSW graduate of Loyola University School of Social Work, and has 30 years' experience in the social work field. Twenty-nine of those years have been in hospice, and 25 of them with Journeycare and its legacy organizations. She has a passion for hospice work, and for mentoring the next generation of hospice social workers via professional presentations, clinical supervision of students and new staff, and writing.

Rhonda Wehner, Jewish Care Services Program Manager

Rhonda Wehner joined the organization as Coordinator of Jewish Care Services in 2006. She educates others about hospice, palliative care and its benefits, as well as how our Jewish Care Services program can add another element of care to Jewish patients and families. The program works hand in hand with a person's hospice care team, offering Rabbinic presence if so desired, providing Jewish volunteers and guidance with understanding Jewish law with regard to medical care. "Being a teacher brings me great joy," Rhonda says, "and my role is all about teaching, whether it is our staff, the staff in the facilities we visit or—most importantly—teaching the members of the greater Jewish community about palliative care and hospice."

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