The sun made a rare appearance at this year’s Hike for Hospice and that was a big boost to an organization raising money to provide comfort for those in need of palliative care.
Organizers said this was the first time in several years, their annual fundraiser was free from rain – an added bonus for an event billed as the premiere fundraising event for Hospice Care Ottawa.
More than 500 hikers came out to raise money and enjoy a five-kilometre hike through the Carleton University campus trails and along the scenic Rideau River, raising more than $105,000. Organizers expect as more donations come in over the weekend, they will reach their $120,000 goal.
A large crowd of fundraisers met in the Carleton Field House prior to the hike to register, listen to live music and a few special speeches, eat popcorn and get ready to hike.
David and Sarah Houston, their son William, 6, and daughter Sophia, 2, were attending their second Hike for Hospice. Sarah is a nurse and volunteer coordinator at Ruddy-Shenkman Hospice in Kanata.
“Palliative care is at the forefront of healthcare and it is really important to me personally,” she said when asked why she’s here for the hike.
Regular hospice emcee and retired radio personality Steve Madely recited a story he heard from a family who had recently needed palliative care for a sick family member.
“They said if there is a rest area between heaven and earth, Hospice Care Ottawa is it,” he told the crowd.
Hospice Care Ottawa Chair John Laframboise kept his comments brief, and to the point.
“Thanks for being here, thank you for your support, enjoy your hike,” he said.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was also on hand as well as politicians MPP Yasir Naqvi and MP Karen McCrimmon.
Watson spoke on behalf of the publicly elected group of hike supporters, commenting on the importance of palliative care and how thankful he was for the support the organization was receiving today from the large crowd of hiker-fundraisers. Both the mayor and MPP Naqvi made sure to high-five as many hikers as possible as they made their way through the start of the official hike.
Following the hike, fundraisers returned to the field house for more live entertainment, refreshments and fun.
Formed in 2013, Hospice Care Ottawa is a community-based charitable organization offering palliative and end-of-life programs and services to people living in the City of Ottawa. All services are offered at no charge to clients and their families. Hospice Care Ottawa provides Community Hospice Care programs such as in-home visits and day hospice, Residential Hospice Care, Bereavement Care and Caregiver Support. The delivery of programs and services is made possible through the support of a small staff, many volunteers and generous donors. Only 60 per cent of funding is provided by the government with the rest made up through fundraising.
Top fundraising teams included Kelly Funeral Homes by Arbor Memorial ($10,500), the Happy Hospice Hikers ($8,560), the Go-Getters ($6,905) and The Road Scholars ($6,326).
Hospice chair Laframboise was the top individual fundraiser with $4,578.