By Vicky Noble, St. James Community Service Society
A rare sunny day greeted walkers for St. James Community Service Society’s first annual Hike for Hospice event on May 6. A great crowd of about 130 participants turned out for the event at Vancouver’s Burrard View Park, home of picturesque Cottage Hospice. “We didn’t quite know what we were getting into at the beginning of the process,” says St. James development director Lesley Anderson. “We had no idea how much money we would raise and set the bar high at $20,000. Not only did we surpass our fundraising goal, we got our name out there and had a great time doing it.”
Some walkers honoured the memory of a loved one who passed at one of St. James’s hospices while others just came to show their support for palliative care. “The event proved a great opportunity to reach out and engage families of past clients and long-time donors,” said Lesley. “It was wonderful to all come together as a community.” Also gratifying was educating people about hospice and palliative care who were new to the idea, she added.
Event sponsors Bayshore Home Health helped out with everything from supplying t-shirts and canopies to printing materials. “Bayshore has been great,” says Lucy Isham-Turner, St. James’s event coordinator. “We really couldn’t have done it without them.” Also sponsoring the event was Remedy’s RX Specialty Pharmacy, Charlie Kiers Remax City Realty, and Dignity Memorial.
Funds raised will go to St. James’s two hospices in Vancouver: Cottage Hospice, a ten-bed hospice, and May’s Place, a six-bed hospice on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside which was Western Canada’s first free-standing hospice when it opened in 1990. These hospices rely on fundraising to fund counseling services, maintenance of hospice facilities and the purchase of supplies and equipment.
Besides sunshine and spectacular views of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore Mountains, participants were treated to face painting, entertainment by the Purple Pirate, music by the choir Local Vocals (which had an accordian!), and enjoyed delicious snacks and refreshments.