Castlegar Hospice Society workers and volunteers joined with members of the community in the 11th Annual Hike for Hospice Palliative Care held at Kinsmen Park in Castlegar on Sunday, May 5.
Executive director of the society, Suzanne Lehbauer, welcomed those who registered for the hike and those who came out to support the society, including Castlegar mayor Lawrence Chernoff and NDP candidate for Kootenay West, Katrine Conroy.
Lehbauer said a heartfelt thank you to all those who support the Hospice Society, including the many volunteers and spoke about the importance of launching a full service hospice facility providing services in the region.
Currently, the society operates from room 18 at the Castlegar & District Community Health Centre.
The hike not only raises needed funds, but also awareness of hospice palliative services.
“I’m here to say thank you to all of you for what you do for the community,” said Chernoff. “It provides such a valuable, essential service. As people go through trying times, help is so important. I know it takes a lot of your time and I know you’re dedicated to it. I’ll try to help as much as I possibly can; I’ll lobby for you and do whatever needs to be done.”
Conroy said when she speaks to families who have had the support of a hospice centre and a place where they can go and people can die with dignity, she realizes how important it is.
“I can’t agree with Suzanne and Lawrence more; I’ve seen a lot of really great hospices in this province and we really need one in this region,” she said. “We really need to work hard to make sure it happens in this region.”
Before getting started on the hike, Lehbauer thanked everyone again for attending and said they were working hard to establish the facility.
“Where you live shouldn’t determine how you die,” she said.
To volunteer or help the Castlegar Hospice Society, contact them at: 709 – 10th Street, Room 18, Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number is 250-304-1266.