The Wheatland and Area Hospice Society is gearing up to host its sixth annual Hike for Hospice event, May 7, with a newly added segment of the event to get excited about.

Hike for Hospice is part of the National Palliative Care Week, with similar events being hosted throughout Canada in order to raise money for hospice and palliative care initiatives.

Dr. Joni McNeely, chair of the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society, said this time around, the team is introducing a fire truck pull to their event. 

“There will be teams of eight to 10 people and they will pull a fire truck 100 feet. It is a timed event, and there will be a trophy for the winning team,” said McNeely. “Strathmore Fire Department is providing the truck and we have the cooperation and enthusiasm of all the fire departments in Strathmore, as well as the county to put together some teams.”

McNeely said there has been interested expressed by local sports teams, Strathmore High School, and the hospital to have a team step forward and participate. 

She added there will be a maximum of 10 teams to participate and encouraged anyone, or any organization to register as quickly as possible. 

Last year, the Wheatland and Area Hospice Society dramatically exceeded their goal of raising $20,000 through the Hike for Hospice, bringing in a total of $36,000. This year, the goal is to raise $25,000 through the event. 

“Last year I think we had about 200 participants and it is such a great time to get out,” said McNeely. “It is early in the spring – we will have face painting and popcorn and donuts from Rocky’s, and this year we are also having a performance by the Wheatland Whirlers.” 

There will be two routes open to participants during the walk – a shorter loop around Kinsmen Park, and a longer trail around Grey Park. 

McNeely added the fire truck pull will begin at 10 a.m. and will run for roughly an hour, which will be followed by the Wheatland Whirlers’ performance, as well as the other activities. 

“We are pretty excited. It is something new, and nothing attracts a crowd better than a big red fire truck,” said McNeely. “We are hoping we can continue to do this each year with the cooperation of the fire department.”

Donations on site during the Hike for Hospice will be accepted starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the event. For those who are interested in getting involved ahead of time, or have an interest in donating remotely, a link to do so is up on the Hospice Society website.

By John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 20, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from   Strathmore Times   Strathmore, Alberta

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