Walkers Sought for Step Out for Hospice

SPRINGFIELD — Organizers of this year’s Step Out for Hospice on June 8 are now recruiting walkers to participate in the 16th annual Walkathon which benefits hospice services at Baystate Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice.
This year’s walk — a scenic route through Forest Park in Springfield — will step off at 10 a.m. from the park’s grandstand area. There are two routes for walkers to choose from — a one-mile loop or a 2.3-mile course throughout the park.
Step Out for Hospice participants raise sponsorships from their friends, family and coworkers, which help pay for the compassionate end-of-life care of patients and their families provided by the Baystate Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice.
Registration on walk day is at 9:30 a.m. across from the park grandstand. Walkers raising more than $50 will receive a Step Out for Hospice T-shirt while supplies last. The walk will be held rain or shine.
Last year’s walkers raised more than $50,000, bringing the 15-year total of funds raised to nearly $1 million.
The cost of providing hospice care often exceeds reimbursement. Gifts from former Hospice families, friends, and supporters help care for current hospice patients and families.
“So many times, there is a feeling on the part of the families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers of hospice patients that ‘there is nothing I can do.’ There is definitely something they or anyone can do to help a hospice patient and their family, and that is to walk beside a friend and step out for hospice to support the work of our staff,” said Maura McQueeney, president of the Baystate Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice.
Participants, including those who cannot walk on the day of the event but who want to do their share, can maximize their donations to support Step Out for Hospice by visiting www.baystatehealth.org/stepout to register for the event or to donate.
Walk participants can create their own web page and ask friends and family members around the country for their support.
Sponsors of this year’s Step Out for Hospice include lead sponsor the Dennis Group, LLC and Health New England.
Shawn Pirnie, an architectural designer at the Dennis Group, said his family benefited from the compassionate care provided by staff at Baystate Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice when his mother was dying.
“The nurse and aide visiting my mother became a very special part of the family during this hard and emotional time,” he said. “My mother’s death is definitely the hardest thing we have ever been through and they made sure to do everything for all of us, no matter what it was. With my father, especially, they helped him to understand why things were happening and what to expect as the days progressed. Our family is very happy knowing that my mother was well-taken care of during the end of her journey. We owe them a lot for everything they did for us.”
The Baystate Visiting Nurse Assoc. & Hospice is committed to providing comfort and support to patients and their loved ones during the final journey of life. The goal of hospice is to help patients and their families achieve the highest quality of living, as well as recognizing dying as a natural process and part of life’s continuum.
To obtain walk papers or for more information, contact Bill Hynes, development manager of the Baystate Health Foundation, at (413) 794-6526. Potential walkers can also visit www.baystatehealth.org/stepout or e-mail Hynes at william.hynes@baystatehealth.org.

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