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Strap on your boots and Hike for Hospice Halifax

Slated for June 13, this year’s fundraising event will take place virtually in support of the non-profit organization dedicated to providing meaningful palliative care in Halifax
Hospice Exterior
Hospice Halifax's Francklyn Street residence

Hospice Halifax is attempting to shed a bit of light on the often-avoided topic of death through an exciting, fun event.

“People, by and large, avoid the topic of death,” says the non-profit organization’s Michael Kelly. “A lot of times the only time people really think about or deal with death is when they’re confronted face on (and) so our Hike for Hospice program is very purposefully light.”

Scheduled to take place on June 13, this year’s Hike for Hospice Halifax will be a fun-filled, day-long virtual community event in order to raise money and support for all the great services performed by support staff and volunteers dedicated to meaningful palliative care in the province.

“We’ve been doing the hike for many years now,” says Kelly who is the events manager for Hospice Halifax. “The Hike For Hospice is something that’s done across Canada (and) it’s a significant fundraiser for every hospice that does it.”

Just as it was forced online in 2020, the hike will again take place virtually due to COVID-19 measures that restrict gathering limits. While that created many challenges for the charity event — which previously included a barbecue and live entertainment — Kelly says it also forced organizers to get creative.

“We didn’t know what to expect our first year going virtual,” says Kelly. “(But we) had digital musical performances and other fun things to engage people online and we had our best year ever!”

Kelly adds the non-profit organization earned about $80,000 from last year’s event — important donations that helped support the approximate 50 percent of funds Hospice Halifax relies on from the community annually.

For this year, Hike for Hospice Halifax is encouraging people to sign up and earn funds before they take their virtual walk around their own neighbourhood, cottage or wherever they choose.  To help motivate participants to raise funds, there will be many incentives along the way.

“The way the incentives work is we have milestones or benchmarks where if our participants fundraise (a certain) amount of money, they are eligible for cool Hospice swag,” says Kelly, noting items range from socks to gift cards to a exclusive passes to a garden party that will take place post-lockdown. “It’s a nice way to get all of our superstar fundraisers together and have a bit of a celebratory get-together.”

An incredibly important non-profit organization, Hospice Halifax began as the Hospice Society of Greater Halifax in 2001. Over the years, they have developed and offered many vital programs and continue to offer community support through bereavement programs and counselling as well as invaluable first-hand palliative care at their hospice residence that opened on Francklyn Street just two years ago.

“This is a whole new wave of palliative care that has hit in Atlantic Canada here in Nova Scotia and it’s about time,” says Kelly, who notes the Hike for Hospice Halifax is also an awareness campaign in addition to an important fundraising event.

“We’re here for when (people) need us and we’re not shy about that,” adds Kelly. “So I think getting that message out there for people when they’re grieving, when they’re curious or when their family member is dealing with end of life, there is this organization there for them — that’s the goal.”

For more information on Hike for Hospice Halifax, visit their website.

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