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Ride for Hospice roars through the County

– Hospice Prince Edward photo

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
On one of the hottest days of the summer, some 40 motorcyclists and their gleaming machines set off en masse from Rossmore on a Ride for Hospice Prince Edward through the County.

The inaugural ride was led by David Hatch, County resident and host of TSNs Motorcycle Experience for the past 30 years. The route took riders on a scenic tour, ending at Cherry Valley park for a barbecue and celebration.

Under cooling shade trees and with a pleasant breeze off East Lake, the afternoon’s live entertainment provided by County band Crimson Cay, was a hit. The young, but accomplished classic rock band, provided familiar cover tunes and played some of their own music.

The modest registration fee of $30 per rider was waived for those who obtained more than $100 in pledges and the tally raised for Hospice Prince Edward, which included donations, pledges, raffle ticket and T-shirt sales, was more than $4,000.

Hatch has been involved in many of these types of events all over Canada, he said, but really wanted to be involved in the County ride. He has been riding for almost 40 years and described this event as a “super worthy cause”.

“My family has been involved in hospice going back before it was even bricks and mortar,” he said. “My wife Stacey was very much involved in the early planning stages for hospice and was with them on their executive for several years.”

He noted the youngest child was also involved with hospice and was helping out as a counsellor in the early days.

Described as a charity that is so completely near and dear to his family’s heart, Hatch explained his father spent his last hours at Hospice Prince Edward two-and-a-half years ago.

“I have always known from day one that the community really needs a hospice and really benefits from having a hospice,” he said. “It really is just a wonderful way of seeing just how motorcyclists just love to roll up their sleeves, go for a ride and raise money for all kinds of things.”

“I have been chatting with a lot of the motorcyclists and they really enjoyed it and thought it was a great ride today; and we had beautiful weather, so everyone is very positive about repeating this again next year,” said Hatch.

Amber Putman

Amber Putman, Event and Fundraising Lead with Hospice Prince Edward, organized the inaugural event. As a new rider who got her licence last year, she taken part in a couple of rides.

“I just saw how people came together and they are such a great group of people, so when I started this, I thought why not mix my love of motorcycle with my love for hospice?” said Putman, who added she is committed to continuing the event next year.

“I am absolutely thrilled with the turnout,” she said, “and the sponsors have been so generous.”

“It’s been a fabulous day,” added Hatch. “We got to ride, we got to eat, we had beautiful music and we got a beautiful day, it was great. It’s wonderful to see motorcyclists when we all get together and put our minds to something because motorcyclists are the most generous people in the world.”

Hospice Prince Edward promotes quality of life, dignity in death, and grief and bereavement support for all those living with, or affected by, a life-limiting illness. As part of the services is a three-bedroom home in Picton for individuals and families unable to remain in their own homes.

Since it first opened in August 2013, the Downes Avenue Picton residence has seen 254 residents make use of the facility. Ninety-two of those were people living at home in Prince Edward County and 87 came from Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital. Thirty-nine were patients from Belleville General Hospital, 12 were from Kingston General Hospital and eight from Trenton Memorial Hospital. Sixteen came from other areas.

All services offered by Hospice Prince Edward are provided free of charge to residents of the community.

Hospice Prince Edward is a registered charity and while about 22 per cent of its funding comes from the South East Local Health Integration Network, the remainder, about 78 per cent, comes solely from donations and fundraising events such as this one.

Putman emphasised how it is the day-to-day maintenance and running of the home that needs to be funded on a continuous basis.

On-going costs include linens and bedding, groceries, property maintenance and repairs, salaries, inspection control, outdoor maintenance, office supplies and utilities. As an example, one month’s internet, cable and telephone costs $320; one month’s insurance is $231, and $190 covers one month of water and sewage costs.

Ride for Hospice Prince Edward is one of a number of fundraising events throughout the year. All donations and proceeds from fundraisers go toward providing professional care and trained volunteers to support individuals with life-limiting illness both at home and in the community.

Upcoming events include a charity barbecue at Picton’s Metro parking lot on August 3, a golf tournament at Picton Golf and Country Club on September 20, Live Well, a health and wellness fair on October 5, and Handbags for Hospice at the Wellington and District Community Centre set for November 6.

While Hike for Hospice is its signature event in the spring, the fall signature event will have more to do with handbags than hiking.

The new event will have a County twist to include some hand-painted handbags by County artists. As well, a couple of artists will be live painting that night, with the paintings to be live-auctioned.

For further information about hospice, its programs or fundraising events, visit hospiceprinceedward.com

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