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Hike for Hospice returning to Airdrie for 12th time this weekend

The Airdrie and District Hospice Society is holding its 12th Hike for Hospice fundraiser on May 25 to raise funds for the Society’s Compassionate Care Fund, which supports families in need of additional hospice medical support and supplies.
The second annual Hike for Hospice is taking on a Stampede style with the Stampede Hike for Hospice on July 11 at Nose Creek Park.
Hikers finishing up their run at a previous Hike for Hospice in Airdrie.

The Airdrie and District Hospice Society is holding its 12th "Hike for Hospice" fundraiser on May 25 for the Society’s Compassionate Care Fund, which supports families in need of additional hospice medical support and supplies. 

The hike will commence at 9 a.m. at Airdrie’s East Lake Park. Last year, the hike raised a little over $4,000 for the Society’s Compassionate Care and Children’s Grief Funds. The Hike for Hospice is not just limited to Airdrie, in fact, the May-time hike is a nationwide initiative that is organized by Hospice Societies from coast to coast. 

“We know how trying it can be, just mentally and physically,” said Lise Blanchette, the administrator and president of the Airdrie and District Hospice Society. “We want to make sure that we can support [families in need] as best we can for now.”

Blanchette said the Society’s ultimate goal is to eventually have hospice care beds in Airdrie. However, in the meantime, the Society will continue to provide support with their grief program for children and adults through their compassionate care program.

“Part of our thing is we'd like to see more people become aware because awareness is a big issue,” said Blanchette. “People think when they hear 'hospice' that's where somebody goes to die, and yes quite often if we had hospice beds that is where they would go, but it's more than just that. It's about providing comfort, support, pain-free medical management and people that are knowledgeable supporting those that are at end of life.”

Hike participants pay $30 to register for the hike, which can be done the day of, with the money going towards providing palliative care companions for patients, to give a small reprieve to families undergoing the stress that dealing with end-of-life care can bring.

While the most common recipients of palliative care are people at advanced ages, surprisingly, Blanchette said that most of the people who receive funding from the Society’s Compassionate Care Fund are between 40 and 60 years old. 

“There isn't a lot of support out there for someone in that age group when they find out they have a life-limiting illness that may be terminal,” she said. “The general theme that I want to introduce [in this year's hike] is who are you hiking for? Are you hiking in memory of somebody or for someone?”

Blanchette admitted that the Hike felt the effects of the pandemic on its turnout the last couple of years, limiting the amount of money the Society typically raises. Blanchette expects those numbers to rise again this year. 

“I think it's really important to support anyone going through the end of life and the programs that we offer help do that or to give hope to someone struggling with a life-limiting illness,” she added. 

Aside from the $30 individual fee, families can register for the hike for $50. Participants can choose to hike the 1 km or the 5 km course, with a barbecue and free choice of donation offered to participants at the end of their hike.


Riley Stovka

About the Author: Riley Stovka

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