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County hikes up Hospice Prince Edward fundraising by more than $25,000

Hospice Prince Edward Event & Fundraising Lead Amber Putman calls out the fundraising tally with Sandy Jeapes, Don Jeapes, Mary Leyendeckers, Marianne Malachowski, Margot-Rivers and the Reasons.

Photos and story by Sharon Harrison
The eighth annual Hike for Hospice Prince Edward got under way under glorious sunshine and warm temperatures Sunday morning. About 175 participants raised $25,264, although donations are expected to continue to trickle in during the coming weeks.

Hike for Hospice is the major fundraising event of the year for Hospice Prince Edward, and over the last eight years, the community has contributed more than $225,000.

“The best way to keep someone’s memory alive is to talk about them,” said Peter Matthewman, president of Hospice Prince Edward, introducing guest speaker Peter Rea.

Singing a couple of verses, with guitar accompaniment, of “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” and “Imagine”, Rea, of The Reasons, spoke of his experience with Hospice when his brother Mike became ill and died in 2016 – at age 56.

“We spent the entire month in Hospice with my brother who had a devastating battle with prostate cancer. It was the saddest, hardest thing, and the most heart-wrenching time of my life,” said Rea.

“Mike said he was scared and not ready to die, but took comfort in knowing I was there with him.”

Rea also spoke to the many wonderful staff members during his brother’s stay who looked after medications, bathroom, bathing and bedding needs.

“All we had to do was be there to love and support our brother,” Rea said, adding, “We are truly thankful for the love, care, dignity and respect that my brother Mike received.”

The Reasons provided the entertainment before and after the hike, and Picton Rotary provided a free barbecue lunch.

Warm-up led by Kathy Terpstra of Everfit Studios in Bloomfield

Kathy Terpstra of Everfit Studios in Bloomfield got everyone limbered-up, warmed-up and motivated prior to the hike, with musical encouragement provided by The Reasons.

“This is my sixth year doing the warm-up for Hike for Hospice, and I’m really happy to be here,” said Terpstra, who also provided information about her fascial stretch treatments for those in need of a good stretch to improve flexibility and reduce pain.

Participants gathered for a group photo.

Piper Will Cairns leads the group to Main Street

Participants then headed out to hike, led by Picton bag piper, Will Cairns. They chose either a 1.5 or 4.5 kilometre route, the latter heading south of Main Street, via Johnson Street, Downes Avenue, Talbot Street, connecting up to Highway 33, before heading back to the starting point at Prince Edward Community Centre.

For those inclined, the hike included a quiz, where participants could answer questions along the route, and prizes were handed out to all winners at closing ceremonies.

Hospice Prince Edward volunteers, Margot Rivers, Marianne Malachowski and Mary Leyendeckers – three of many regular volunteers.

Matthewman said Hospice couldn’t put on an event like this without help from many sponsors and volunteers.

“It’s phenomenal and it’s amazing this community is so generous,” said Matthewman, who said the volunteers also do an amazing job.

Hospice Prince Edward requires $21,000 a month to keep operational and running, and they have more than 70 volunteers who work in visiting programs, palliative care, residential care, grief and bereavement programs.

All services provided by Hospice Prince Edward are free of charge. HPE has supported more than 550 families in the outreach and bereavement programs since 2010. Additionally, the residential Hospice located on Downes Avenue in Picton has accommodated more than 200 families since opening its doors in 2013.

This year’s top individual fundraiser was Wanda Tripp. The top team was the Cressy Striders who raised $3,080, which was generously matched by Annette Gaskin for a total of $6,160.

Honourable mentions went to The Family Health Team which raised $1,990, and the Picton Clinic’s Drug Runners with $1,516.

The recipient of the 2019 June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism, which is usually announced at the Hike for Hospice event, will instead be announced at the annual general meeting in June.

Cherry Valley resident Peter Sheridan, age 70, lives with a terminal disease, light chain amyloidosis, and has made use of Hospice Prince Edward in a variety of ways.

“It is like multiple myeloma only a little more advanced. It killed my kidneys and led to congestive heart failure and I’ve been on dialysis at Kingston General Hospital and here in Picton,” said Sheridan.

“Around Christmas, I was doing pretty poorly and Hospice were thinking of setting up a room for me, but on December 27, I got a call and they had a kidney for me. It was from a considerably older gentleman than myself and it was a slightly diseased kidney, but they were able to fix those things up. The doctors basically said I had a choice of not living too long or taking the kidney, and I said, ‘I will take it!’”

Sheridan decided one day before Hike for Hospice to give it a try. After contacting a few friends, he collected about $500 in pledges.

“I am very blessed and humbled and happy to have got a lot of support over the last few years,” with meditation and reflexology as ways to help recover flexibility and range of movement.

“I am grateful and humbled and I always get a warm welcome from HPE; they are compassionate and supportive and I am very thankful.”

Matthewman added that Hospice Prince Edward doesn’t know how recent government announcements will affect palliative care.

“I can assure everyone that Ontario is a leader in community-based hospice palliative care, and as such, funding will continue to be available for our hospice activities,” he said.

Team Honk for Hospice cheers its success

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  1. Dee Alder says:

    Volunteers in any field are the most important people in any part of the world !!
    Thank you so very much 👏👏👏👏👏👏

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