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04/11/2011 Palliative Care Fundraisers Lacing up their Runners May 1
Annual Cross Country Hike for Hospice Fundraising Event May 1
 
Gimli, April 11, 2011—Residents of Arborg, Dunnotar, Gimli, Riverton and Winnipeg Beach will be hitting the streets and trails May 1 as part of Hike for Hospice events taking place across Canada. Some walk in memory of a loved one, others are motivated to support palliative care in their community. Regardless, every penny raised in these communities will go towards palliative care programs in the northeastern Interlake.
 
May 1 is a day that Sarah Pinsent, palliative care support coordinator for the northeast, hopes people will circle on the calendar.
 
“I just finished instructing the palliative care volunteer course and only a few participants were aware of our fundraising struggles. That concerns me. The reason we fundraise is because the palliative care program relies on community funding. Palliative care has only one funded staff position, the rest of our program relies on donations from our Interlake residents. That’s why this is such a key event for our work,” Pinsent said.
 
Gordon Payne, interim pastor at Gimli Lutheran church, has volunteered with the palliative care program for three years. He walked in Hike for Hospice last year and he’s part of a group of volunteers soliciting donations for the event at the Sobeys in Gimli until the end of April.
 
“I believe in the whole concept of palliative care. I believe in providing people with the best end of life experience and this is one of the ways in which we can contribute to that in our community,” Payne said. “Plus there is a sense of camaraderie. The weather was so bad last year, the winds were blowing off of Lake Winnipeg. It wasn’t the best to be walking in but we did it!”
 
Last year’s Hike for Hospice raised over $18,000 for northeast district palliative care. These donations were used to fund the palliative care coordinator position, provide ongoing training and education for palliative care volunteers and maintain supports and resources to persons living with a potentially life-limiting illness and their families and caregivers. Funds also assist with purchasing special equipment to increase comfort.
 
According to Pinsent, palliative hospice care extends beyond medical comfort measures and care and reaches into all aspects of the patient’s life. 
 
“Our aim is to also address the emotional, social and spiritual needs of the person facing the potentially life-threatening illness and to give the same supports to their families and caregivers,” Pinsent said. “Supports are provided to patients on a voluntary basis in which the coordinator, medical team and volunteers work together to ensure holistic care is given and needs are met.”
 
Anyone wishing to participate in a 2011 Hike for Hospice fundraising event for palliative care or make a pledge can contact Pinsent in Gimli at 204.642.4597, spinsent@irha.mb.ca. To download a pledge sheet, visit www.irha.mb.ca, click on “Community Services” and then “Palliative Care Program” and “Hike for Hospice” or click here.
 
For more information, contact:
Lauralou Cicierski, public relations manager, 204.467.4747, lcicierski@irha.mb.ca
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