By Joseph Pratt
The Hospice Center of Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), in Portsmouth, is gearing up for their annual major fundraising ordeal, the Hike for Hospice. The event is a cornerstone of their fundraising efforts that makes much of their work possible. Last year’s hike brought in around $50,000 for the Compassion Fund and their Ceritas program. The guests from last year peaked at just 1,100 participants and SOMC hopes to go even farther this year and top at 1,200.
The event starts Saturday, May 17, at the Hospice Center. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. and the walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. The walk is a 5k and will stretch 3.1 miles long. Walkers will receive a map of the trek on their program, but should have no problem with direction since the traffic flow of walkers is pretty steady. The final product raised will be counted and announced at the end of the race and before lunch, around 10:30 a.m.
In order to make the hike a feat available to the most people, the walk is not arranged like a race. Participants are encouraged to walk and enjoy the pace, enjoying the afternoon stroll with other hikers. Hiilbert explained that many participants have been touched by cancer, or the Hospice Center, and are there to commemorate the lives of their loved ones.
Hike for Hospice is organized by Scott Hilbert, who is the marketing liaison and coordinator of Hospice relations. This is the second year Hilbert has been involved with the hike.
“I thought last year was very successful, not having much to compare it to, other than what others have told me,” Hilbert said. “I thought it was a very enjoyable day and we had a nice turnout. It seemed to be a very positive day and one where people had a lot of fun while we were able to raise a lot of money for Hospice.”
Hilbert thinks the goal of growing this year is realistic, especially with the public interest already shown. This year’s t-shirt sales have reached 3,500, which is 1,000 more than what they had last year.
“We are hoping to have a great turnout. The weather looks like it is going to be a beautiful event and we are excited for another good year,” Hilbert said.
Teams participating in the walk are encouraged to get a theme set to stand apart from the crowd and show their team support. Hilbert said many of the participants dressed in costumed teams.
“This is the 28th year that we’ve had this hike and it is the largest event of the year,” Hilbert said. “The point of the hike is to have a family-focused day. So, we really encourage not only individuals, but families to come and participate.”
Walkers involved in the hike raise money and get locals to sponsor their participation in the 5k.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.