Annual Hike for Hospice is coming up on May 6

  • May. 2, 2012 3:13 p.m.

Supporting the Red Deer Hospice, the fifth annual Hike for Hospice is slated for May 6. Organizers are urging folks to sign up, as there a longs ways from their goal of 200 participants.

“We have three main goals that we hope to achieve: fundraising, awareness and recognition,” said Marian Cloutier, fund development and marketing coordinator at the Hospice. “Volunteer hikers help us to achieve all three. Not only do they raise necessary funds for Red Deer Hospice’s programs and services in our community, they also help to raise awareness of the need for hospice palliative care and they build recognition of the fact that Central Alberta has a wonderful hospice family.”

The hike starts and ends at the Kiwanis Picnic Shelter near Great Chief Park at 1 p.m. (pre-registration starts at 12:30 p.m.) Along with sponsor support, they hope to raise $63,000 this year. That will provide 175 days of care for one or more hospice residents.

Hike for Hospice is a national event with thousands of participants across Canada. Organizers say the event helps recognize the valuable work done by hospice palliative care volunteers and health care providers across the country.

At this year’s event in Red Deer, Janelle Brideau will help to kick off National Hospice Palliative Care Week (May 6-12) as well. She’s going to shave her head and raise funds for the Hospice.

In 2007, she and her family spent the last months of her mother’s life at the Hospice.

“The Red Deer Hospice gave my mom the most amazing, supportive and compassionate care until her very last breath,” she said. “They then proceeded to continue to provide that compassionate care to me and my family. So now, five years later, I want to help the Hospice to give that same care to others who need it.”

Brideau, who hopes to raise $5,000, will have her head shaved on the day of the Hike for Hospice, at 12:30 p.m. Anyone can pledge a donation online at

According to Statistics Canada, more than 259,000 Canadians die each year and that number is projected to increase to more than 350,000 by 2020.

Almost 90% of those could benefit from hospice palliative care, but only two or three out of 10 are fortunate enough to receive palliative hospice care.

The Red Deer Hospice opened in September of 2005.

To support or participate in the Hike for Hospice, call 403-309-4344 or visit