While the presence of COVID-19 in our lives has certainly brought on many changes to our routines, not all changes are bad.
Early this summer we announced, for the first time in ten years, we would be making a change to our signature summer event. Hosting Swim a Mile for Hospice during a pandemic was not possible. Instead, we introduced My Mile for Hospice. We asked you to choose an activity and “go the extra mile” in support of our organization and those we serve. The final result of this event far exceeded anything we could have hoped for.
A total of eighty-four participants ages six to seventy and older logged nearly 2,500 miles. Hundreds of community members made donations in support of our participants’ efforts to walk, run, bike, hike, and swim (just to name a few activities) for Hospice. This change of events allowed us to welcome sixty-five new participants as Hospice supporters. While we couldn’t formally gather together, collectively this effort raised nearly $42,000, making it our most successful special event ever.
More significantly, our community rallied around the importance of hospice care in the time of a health crisis. You recognized our front-line staff and their willingness to continue to serve your friends and family during one of life’s most difficult times.
Prizes were awarded to the top three individual fundraisers, top youth fundraiser, and new this year, top fundraising team. With a total of $4,990 Shauna Gall was once again our top fundraiser, followed by long-time participant Jan DeWaters who raised $2,192, and Hospice volunteer Kay Church raising a total of $2,001. Kay also logged the most individual miles with her daily combination of stationary biking and walking for a total of one thousand three hundred miles. The top three individual fundraisers were awarded gift certificates to the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce to ensure support of our local businesses.
Ariana Baxter was the top youth fundraiser. She performed an original dance choreographed with her teammate, Emersen Garrow. A full team of new participants, the Cranberry Lake Crazies, was the top fundraising team with a combined total of $2,290. They completed the Cranberry Lake 50 Ultra – a fifty-two mile hike around Cranberry Lake in less than twenty-four hours in honor of a fellow hiker and current hospice patient.
As we all know, change is difficult. A departure from normal or what we’ve always done can be scary, but sometimes it can lead to incredible opportunities for improvement. Throughout the last few months, it has been a pleasure to interact with participants new and old and connect with community members who so generously donated to our cause. We learned why Hospice is important to you and we saw a new level of support for our organization. These are the things that have made the change to My Mile for Hospice incredibly profound.
The support from My Mile for Hospice will ensure the compassionate care our patients and their families count on will continue to be available no matter what challenges lie ahead.
From everyone at Hospice, thank you for going the extra mile!
– Kellie Hitchman, Director of Development & Community Relations