This non-competitive 5K "Fun Walk" will begin at the SOMC Hospice Center on the SOMC East Campus, 2201 25th St.
"Hospice takes care of the terminally ill with a life expectancy of six month or less - however, some patients live longer," said Sheila Riggs, claims and information system coordinator of SOMC Hospice. "We have our inpatient units at our SOMC Hospice Center, if the family or patient doesn't want to die at home or if pain is out of control from some sort of acute situation, they can come in there. Also if the caregiver needs a break, they can come in for respite."
The program also offers home care for those Hospice patients who prefer to stay in their own home.
"Our goal is to keep them in their homes, if the family wants to keep them in their homes," she said. "We have RNs that visit along with home health aides, chaplains, social workers, and dietitians."
Funds for the SOMC Hospice program are raised, in part, through this annual event by participants asking friends to sponsor an amount per kilometer walked, or by giving an outright donation.
"One-hundred percent of the money raised stays in our area. There are no administration fees. It stays directly with Hospice," Riggs said.
Those funds are used for much more than just medical care, she said.
"Just last week we provided a gentleman a birthday party. One of his last wishes was to have a birthday party, so we did that," Riggs said. "We've put ramps on our families' homes, provided air conditioning, provided gas card to families that live out of town that want to come see their loved ones before they pass, and provide Christmas for the children."
This year's route is reversed from those of years past, proceeding through the adjacent residential neighborhood along 23rd and Summit streets, Kinney's Lane, Offnere Street, through Greenlawn Cemetery, Micklethwaite and Shawnee roads, Dorman Drive, Grandview Avenue, and back to the SOMC Hospice Center.
Rest stops will be available along the way and free lunch will be provided by Subway.
Participants can join in groups of three or more to form teams, presenting banners, shirts or other forms of promotion. Each team receives one complimentary 8-by-10 photo. Hikers and supporters also will be eligible for prizes, and shirts will be available for purchase. Awards will be presented at the end of the hike to teams as well as individuals in various categories.
Riggs isn't just an employee of SOMC Hospice, she's also been a participant in the hike for the past 20 years.
"It's wonderful," she said. "It's just a great family day. Pets are welcome. It's just a great way to spend your day and help families in the area."
Each year, she said, the event attracts more and more participants - including nearly 500 last year. "Rain or shine, we still have our hike" Riggs said.
Check-in for this year's hike opens at 8:30 a.m., and the walk will begin at 9:30 a.m. Early registration is encouraged, but hikers also can register the day of the hike. For more information, call (740) 353-2567.