When Marion Pape first heard about Hike for Hospice, she saw it as a way to relieve her many feelings of dread.
Pape’s husband Manfred had been diagnosed with colon cancer in the fall of 2011, and within weeks the cancer had spread to his rectum, liver, kidneys and beyond. After a year-and-a-half-long battle, Manfred was living out his final weeks in Victoria Hospice with his wife by his side.
The couple knew the inevitable was slowly creeping up on them, when they learned about Hike for Hospice, an annual fundraiser for Victoria Hospice and celebration of loved ones who have passed away. Though Manfred was too weak to join them on the hike, they both agreed it was a cause worth supporting. The day of the race, many of Manfred’s family and friends showed up to hike in his honour.
“Intitially, we used the opportunity as a way to relieve our feelings of dread,” Marion said. “The beautiful side effect was that it actually brought joy and laughter to Manfred. It raised his spirits to see how many people loved him and came to hike in his honour.”
A few weeks later, Manfred passed away. But his memory continues to live on through Marion, who will be walking in the sixth annual Hike for Hospice this weekend. And she’s not alone, as organizers expect to see more than 300 participants this year.
“It’s a really wonderful way for people to come out and remember a loved one and support end-of-life care in Victoria” said Wendy Innes with Victoria Hospice, adding there has been an increase in awareness of hospice throughout the region recently.
This year, organizers hope to raise $40,000 — funds which go towards providing care, support and pain and symptom management for patients nearing end of life, as well as bereavement support and grief counselling for families who have lost loved ones.
Hike for Hospice takes place Sunday, May 7 at Fisherman’s Wharf Park, beginning at 10 a.m. Participants will hike the 3.5 kilometre loop from the Inner Harbour to the ocean and back again.
For more information about the hike visit victoriahospice.org.