A virtual version of the annual Hike for Hospice appears to be an adaption of the event that has legs in Prince Edward County.
Each year, Hospices across Canada participate in the “Hike for Hospice”. The Hike is a national campaign aimed to raise vital funds and increase awareness for hospice palliative care in Canada.
For Hospice Prince Edward, “Hike for Hospice” is an signature fundraising event and a wonderful opportunity to bring the community together in the spirit of celebration and remembrance. In 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the local event was held as a ‘Virtual’ event for the second year in a row.
That was no matter for local hikers as, by all accounts, the 2021 edition a run away success, setting a new record for most funds raised in its 10-year History. The $35,000 goal was left in the dust as participants raised an astounding $62,953. Hospice Prince Edward Community Development Director Melanie Dailey was completely blown away.
“The support we received this year is unprecedented. Each morning through June when I checked our event total I was completely overcome with gratitude and excitement. The virtual format of this event is clearly very popular,” she said.
The VIRTUAL Hike for Hospice launched in May and ran for about six weeks. Participants were encouraged register online and collect pledges, and to Hike at their chosen time, in their chosen way.
“Something remarkable happened this year,” added Dailey, “We encouraged participants to Hike 10,000 steps (approx. 5km). Many accepted that challenge, but many took it further and Hiked 10,000 steps a day for several days. Many Hikers also chose to walk sections of the Millennium Trail.”
Local Hiker Ken Branscombe walked over 400km’s over the course of the event.
“He was hiking to honour his late wife and best friend Cathy. It was incredible to watch our community take these extra steps to support us,” Dailey added.
On Saturday June 26 at 10:00am, participants gathered online to celebrate the event’s success. The event was hosted by Dailey. Peter Matthewman, Hospice Board President, shared that 100 per cent of the funds raised in Prince Edward County remain in the community and directly benefit clients.
Sophiasburgh Councillor, and Hospice Board Member Bill Roberts made encouraging and supportive remarks to the group, discussing the value that Hospice brings to Prince Edward County. Donna Brewster, with her husband Mike at her side, gave an incredibly beautiful and moving account of her family’s recent experience with Hospice when Mike’s father was cared for in the residence.
“Hearing Donna and Mike’s story was so motivating” said Dailey, “Hospice is a vital community service and we continue to put our heart and soul into making the organization thrive”. In addition to speeches, there were prizes and tremendous thanks to our very generous sponsors, including Chestnut Park, Pioneer Healthcare, Sunflower Fields Ice Cream (who provided each Hiker with a free cone!) and the Rotary Club of Picton.
For the grand finale, The Reasons played a few songs right from Peter Rea’s garage. Congratulations to all of the Prize Winners.
The winning team was “The Cressy Striders” raising an incredible $12,000. Debbie Eyton was the individual fundraising star, raising $5000. Barb Mason won the photo draw, and Branscombe took the prize for most unique Hike, due to the estimated 700,000 steps he took.
Also astonishing was the incredible contribution made by 13-year-old Ava Runions. Ava was inspired by her grandmother Karen Howse from the Cressy Striders team, to participate in the Hike. She walked day after day and raised $4,460 dollars for Hospice.
“Seeing this level of initiative, commitment and understanding from someone so young inspires us all to do more” added Annette Gaskin, Hospice Board Member, and Cressy Striders team member. Next Year Hospice plans to run the Hike virtually again, but will host an in-person celebration and awards ceremony.