Feature Story                                                                                                               Friday May 6, 2011

No Ordinary Angels

Hike For Hospice supporters have raised $200k over the last decade

Craig Hill/Voice photos


Purple people line up for a group shot at the 10th Annual Hike For Hospice last Sunday at Townsend Park.


n Sunday 115 supporters of the 10th Annual Hike For Hospice gathered at Townsend Park for a 2 km or 5 km trek around town.


Geri McGrath, Executive Director of the Chilliwack Hospice Society, told walkers that the hospice society helps support people facing death and grief.


"All of our services are free of charge through the help and support of all of you here today," said McGrath. "Some of us are here putting our memories in motion holding a loved one in our hearts while others are here in support of you, your loved one and all

others in our community that are faced with the end of life, be it their own or a loved one," said Mcgrath.


"Today is a celebration of memories, of hope, of redefining as we all walk together to show Chilliwack we are here and we are together, so that in the future if our neighbors, friends, families or strangers need Hospice they will know where to turn. Each of you are ambassadors and heros."


McGrath quoted friend Dame Cicely Saunders saying that "You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die."


Another quote read out over the PA system was from Dorothy Ley, another of McGrath's past hospice friends.


"Spiritual care lies at the heart of hospice. It says we are here. We will be with you in your living and your dying. We will free you from pain and give you the freedom to find your own meaning in your own life your way. We will comfort you and those you love not always with words, often with a touch or a glance. We will bring you hope not for tomorrow but for this day. We will not leave you. We will watch with you. We will be there."


Emcee Anna Macedo said the Hike For Hospice has raised over $200,000 over the last 10-years.


Coletta Holmes, coordinator for the Hospice Society and Hike For Hospice, told The Voice in an e-mail the following day that 115 participants raised $15,247.38 for the 10th Annual fundraiser.


"Additionally we had at least 60 volunteers and another 25 or so who came along just to support our efforts and encourage our participants. It was a wonderful day thanks to this community," said Holmes.


Choosing To Smile author Glenda Standeven said her and Michelle Rickaby support the hospice and donated $5 from the sale of each book to the fundraiser.


"Julie spent the last two months of her life in hospice and so this is very near and dear and something we really believe in," said Standeven. "People don't even know it exists until they need it."


Johnathon Balzer from the Chilliwack Fraser Rotary Club cut a cake honouring the 10th year of the Hospice Society's Hike.


"We helped put the Hospice Centre together and are a major sponsor," said Balzer.


Incoming Rotary president Nick Bastaja cut the purple ribbon to get the walk underway.

Highroad Academy and Rosedale Church of God and Central Community Church had volunteers assisting walkers with water on the designated route.


Horse Whisperer Grief Camp and a horse were on site. Tim Horton's brought the coffee, hot chocolate and Timbits. Volunteers from St John Ambulance was also in attendance and several Helping Paws, a group that helps charities fundraise, had several volunteer mascots on hand to liven things up. And to make sure cars were left alone, crime prevention services were patrolling the parking lot.


Prizes were awarded for top team, top family as well as top individual fundraisers.



For more information call: 604-795-4660 or visit their website: www.chilliwackhospice.org


See more photos below.

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