Hospice seeking ‘hikers’ for May 5 fundraiser

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Paul and Kristie Card, owners of Battery Boy, and their family participate in the 2023 Hike for Hospice. (Image courtesy Rich Barry)

The eighth rendition of the Chatham-Kent Hike for Hospice will take place May 5, and organizers are putting the word out seeking participants.

The hike, which will take place at Mud Creek Trail in Chatham, raises funds to support end-of-life hospice care in Chatham-Kent. In the previous seven years, the annual event has raised more than $785,000. That includes the record-setting $150,000 raised by more than 600 participants in 2023.

That hike marked the return to an in-person event, which followed three years of isolated participation due to the pandemic.

Ginny Hawken, chair of the special events committee for the hospice, said the return to an in-person event in 2023 was inspiring.

“Just to see the sea of people all wearing the hospice colours leaves me kind of in awe,” she said. “It was really great to see everybody back in person and we had a really good turnout.”

Hawken has laced up her running shoes and participated in the hike since 2018.

“I walk on a team, Lou’s Crew, in memory of Louane McFadden, who was a good friend of mine,” she said. “The first year we hiked, it was actually the one-year anniversary of her passing.”

This year’s goal is $140,000. Hawken sees it as aggressive, but achievable.

“I think we can do it. Every year, the community just seems to come together and amaze us,” she said. “I would challenge Chatham-Kent to see if we can surpass that goal.”

On top of the $150,000 raised in 2023, the hike brought in $129,000 in 2022, and $143,000 in 2021.

Hawken encourages people to come out and enjoy the day, while supporting the hospice.

“It’s a wonderful facility for anyone who has been there,” she said. “The ability to raise money for the hospice through the hike is just a great experience. It’s a great afternoon.”
On top of the walk along Mud Creek Trail, Hawken said the committee has activities planned prior to the trek, which was the case last year as well.

“We had some music playing. We’re doing that again this year,” she said. “We have some yard games planned as well. We just really want to encourage people to come out ahead of time with their teams and their families and enjoy the space. Make it a whole afternoon event.”

Participants are encouraged to bring a picnic and join the pre-hike activities that will get underway starting at noon. On top of the live music and lawn games, there will be memorial activities, kid’s activities and more.

Hawken said the hike has some great supporting businesses, and singled out Battery Boy as its longstanding main sponsor.

“I would like to thank Battery Boy. They have been our tried and true sponsor for this event year after year,” she said.

Although the main event takes place May 5, participants are also welcome to hike the Mud Creek Trail at their convenience between April 29 and May 4. Memorial signs will be set up along the trail beginning April 29. Hikers may also submit pledges online and participate remotely.

For more information or to register and begin collecting pledges, visit hikeforhospiceck.com.

The Chatham-Kent Hospice is a 10-bed residential facility that offers care for residents facing end of life and support for their loved ones. The hospice provides comfort, support and specialized pain and symptom management in a home-like setting.

Since opening in April 2016, Chatham-Kent Hospice has served more than 1,300 families. In order to offer these services at no cost to residents or their families, Chatham-Kent Hospice relies on donations from the community.

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