Hike for Hospice set for late April

Megan, Bronson and Greyson Parry walk along Mud Creek Trail, as part of the 2021 Hike for Hospice Chatham-Kent.

It might not be Hike season just yet, but preparations for the annual Hike for Hospice are well underway.

The event, which is a huge fundraiser for the Chatham-Kent Hospice, is slated for the week of April 25 to May 1 this year, back at Mud Creek Trail in Chatham.

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, supporters walked virtually and managed to raise more than $143,000.

A year earlier, the first of the pandemic, and the first held virtually, hikers brought in $79,000.

And in 2019, the last year of a mass one-day walk event, supporters raised in excess of $145,000 in near-perfect spring weather.

Jody Maroney, executive director of the hospice, said this year’s event will also be a virtual one, held over the course of a full week, despite the recent loosening of pandemic restrictions.

“We had to decide in January. We didn’t have the information we have now,” she explained. “We also weren’t sure what people wanted. But this way, people can walk in groups if they want. Those who aren’t comfortable doing that can still walk on their own.”

Maroney said the support from the community never ceases to amaze her and she hopes 2022 will be as great as 2021 for the hike.

“I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being amazed at the public’s support. They are so very thoughtful,” she said. “We always get good response for the hike with our walkers and our families.”

The goal this year is set at $125,000.

Maroney believes the positive impact of the hospice on families in need of end-of-life care for a loved one sparks the support.

“Having cared for almost 1,000 families in our community, most people know someone who has used the hospice,” she said. “They can see the benefit that the hospice has given their family or neighbours. That makes all the difference. They want to help those families and they want to make sure hospice care is available should their family need it.”

Despite the walk being spread out over the course of a week, Maroney said there will be signs and memorials along the trail again.

“We will do our memorial signs again. We’re also looking to increase the engagement as people walk along the trail. There will be some additions to the experience,” she said, declining to go into details.

For folks unable to attend the site, you can still take part, event chair Giri Thommandram said.

“If you can’t make it out to Mud Creek, you can still participate remotely by completing your hike wherever you would like – on a different trail, in your neighbourhood, or even in your own house,” she said in a media release.

Registration for the virtual event is free but participants will be able to purchase a commemorative T-shirt in addition to memorial signs.

For more information or to register, visit www.hikeforhospiceck.com.


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