Hike for Hospice surpasses $52,000 fundraising goal

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By Adam Brazeau 
CORNWALL, Ontario - For three years, Melanie Lapierre has been hiking for hospice in memory of loved ones.

Her touching story was one of many at the 12th Hike for Hospice in Cornwall Sunday.

With her two-year-old daughter Emilie and mother, Lucie, Lapierre made a familiar half-hour trek with 150 others that began and ended at the hospice, located at 1507 Second Street West.

"We wouldn't miss it," said Lapierre, a 30-year-old city resident.

Her grandmother passed away at the hospice in 2010. But her connection to the palliative care facility doesn't end there. Lapierre's uncle and a good friend of the family also spent their last days at the hospice.

"Today, we walk and think of our loved ones," she said.

Sandy Collette, fundraising co-ordinator for Carefor Hospice Cornwall, said the event kicks off National Hospice Paliative Care Week in Canada, which runs from May 4 to 10.

"I'm glad to say that we exceeded our goal and have raised $54,000," said Collette. "No matter what our goal is we seem to reach and surpass it."

The top fundraiser for Hike for Hospice was once again Ray O'Collin. He collected $8,000. The top team was Your Credit Union with a total of $13,187.

For many families in attendance, this is their first time back to the hospice since losing a loved one.

"We try to make it a happy event so it's not just coming back to remember the sorrow they experienced. We make it a celebration of a person's life," she said.

But both Collette and Lapierre noticed that attendance was down this year, likely due to the rainy weather.

Since hospice only receives partial government funding, every year $500,000 has to be raised to meet their operational budget.

"Last year, we raised in excess of $500,000. That really helps cushion because you never know. For instance, we have a company that's closing. There's going to be 200 people out of a job and sometimes that has a domino effect - it's taking donor dollars out of our community," said Collette.

She credits events like Hike for Hospice and the community support it draws for helping with the day-to-day expenses needed to provide quality end of life care in a home-like setting to residents of Cornwall, The United Counties of SDG, as well as Prescott and Russell.

"We just started our fiscal year the first of April, we're tracking very well so far," she said.

To make a donation to Hospice Cornwall or to learn about volunteering, visit cornwallhospice.com.

Geographic location: Canada

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