It’s an easy 4 km hike through one of the prettiest towns in Southern Alberta and it’s all for a good cause – the Foothills Country Hospice, the only rural-based end of life care facility of it’s kind in Alberta.
The hike will take place on pathways through the Town of Okotoks, giving participants an opportunity to walk for a good cause while exploring the community in which they live or explore a community in which they might like to purchase a new home.
This fundraiser is the first annual event for the Hospice which must fundraise almost all of it’s annual operating budget. The event runs on May 7, 2017 and starts off at the Okotoks Recreation Centre at 2:00 pm, with registration opening an hour prior at 1:00 pm.
While the Hike is a new event for Foothills, similar walks have been going on for the past 13 years in other Canadian communities, organized by the Canadian Hospice and Palliative Care Association.
The executive director of the Foothills Hospice, Dawn Elliot, told the Okotoks Western Wheel that the Board of Directors were tossing around ideas for a new fundraising event and thought a hike through the community would go over well.
Walks bring people together in support of a common cause. A group event such as this, taking part en masses in the public domain, also raises organizational profile and awareness of a cause. In this case, the awareness is the need for hospice care close to the community. The Foothills Country Hospice allows people in Okotoks and the surrounding region to spend their remaining days close to home and family rather than further away in Calgary.
Participants pay a $10 registration fee and are encouraged to raise pledges for their 4 km stroll through town. The first 300 hikers who register will get a t-shirt and children under 5 are exempt from the registration fee. Participants are welcome to register as a team and dress in team colours, but there isn’t a team registration fee. Each individual still pays $10 entry fee.
The financial goal of $10,000 will be used for hospice operations and to cross off items on their wish list, such as new bedding for patients, medical supplies and other basic necessities. The organization has an operating budget of $2.8 million. Breaking that down, it’s about $950 a day to keep things going at the hospice which has eight beds open. The hospice sees 100 people a year at the facility and also provides support to families who journey with loved ones at the end of their lives. Guests don’t pay for hospice facilities and fundraising pays for 41% of all operating costs. The other 59% is absorbed by Alberta Health Care.
Elliott said that she and her team are excited to see the number of registrants so far. People interested in supporting hospice care in Southern Alberta can register on the website or can simply make a donation.
About Foothills Country Hospice
The Okotoks hospice is operated by professional staff, specialized nursing and volunteers who are trained specifically to deliver care to terminally ill patients. The mandate of the hospice is to provide quality of life care to those spending their final days in care. That means there is an emphasis on pain management, emotional support while attending to their spiritual needs and guidance as loved ones prepared to say goodbye.
The hospice follows the standards of end of life care as dictated by the Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association. On-site clinical professionals include family and palliative care physicians, registered and licensed practical nurses and health care aides, chaplains, social workers and volunteer coordinators.
The philosophy of the hospice is such that the facility is a place of refuge or everyone as they strive to create an atmosphere or dignity for those near the end of life’s journey.