Myrtle the Turtle is a regular guest at the Kensington Hike.
The first Kensington Hike had just 35 hikers walking through Sunnybrook Park. The Hospice hadn’t even opened yet, but the need to support its work and end-of-life care was already firmly part of our culture.
Since then, nearly 1400 people have hiked over the last ten years, and the Hike has become a chance to both raise funds for the Hospice and raise awareness for end-of-life care. It’s also an important chance for the families of the more than 1000 people who have died at the hospice to reconnect.
“It takes so much courage for family members to come back to Major Street. For many it is the first time they are coming back after someone has passed at the hospice. It is a fun day, but also a heart filled day,” explains Maxxine Rattner, Social Worker at the Hospice.
The Hike also raises awareness about dying and end-of-life care at Kensington Hospice, which provides support for those at their most vulnerable moments.
“To me the Hospice is a place where the focus isn’t just that they are dying, but it’s the place where you are surrounded by people who love you and value you,” says Noel, a long-time Hospice volunteer.
The Hospice provides a home-like environment where residents and their families can focus on each other. It’s also an important place for those family members and caregivers who are strained providing for their loved one.
“Many family members are burnt out trying to care for their family member at home, but when they walk in the door there is just calm. They know they’ve brought their family member somewhere good,” describes Susan, who volunteers in the Hospice kitchen.
The Kensington Hike plays an important part in meeting the needs of our Hospice. Roughly 40% of funding for hospice operations comes from philanthropy. Thanks to our dedicated participants, the Hike has raised more than half a million dollars in the last ten years.
The Hike is also a chance to celebrate and remember those who died at the Hospice and the role Kensington played for their families. As Brenda Caldwell, Nurse Manager of the Hospice explains, “we see people at very vulnerable and sad times. But with Hike, you get to see the fullness of who they are and their commitment to help us continue the program.”
Happening September 8-13th, this year’s Hike will look different as it is going entirely virtual. Community members will run, walk, or even choose their own adventure like a bake off to show their support for end-of-life care at the Hospice.
Learn more about the Kensington Hike at kensingtonhike.ca.