Four years ago, Marion Pape’s husband Manfred Pape passed away at Victoria Hospice after a long battle with colorectal cancer. A few weeks before he died, bolstered by the support of their son Andrew, family and friends, Marion participated in her first ever Hike for Hospice.
“Initially, we used the opportunity as a way to relieve our feelings of dread,” she says. Since then, the event has become a celebratory annual tradition for her multi-generational family and friends.
“Hike for Hospice is a wonderful way to honour someone who is special to you,” says Marion. “And doesn’t everyone in the world have someone to remember? “For us, Hike has become more important than Manfred’s birthday or the day he died.”
“We’re a family that does a lot together and hiking is a joy. Hike for Hospice gave us a chance to cheer Manfred on during his final journey – he connected with the hikers via tablet from his hospice bed, being too weak to join us on the road. 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.”
In addition to the care Manfred received during his time at Hospice, relieving his family of caregiving duties and enabling them to enjoy his final weeks together in peace and tranquility, Marion took advantage of the grief counselling services offered at Victoria Hospice following his death. “The fact that Hike for Hospice also raises funds for such a vital service in our community makes the time spent hiking with loved ones that much more special,” she says.
“We believe so strongly in what Hospice does that when we first signed up it became a friendly competition to be the top funding family. Although we were overtaken as the top fundraisers, we were pleased that so much money was raised to support the programs and services at Victoria Hospice.” Victoria Hospice depends on community support for almost half of its operating costs, making events like Hike for Hospice truly meaningful.The goal for this year’s Hike for Hospice is to raise $40,000 for end-of-life care.
“Significant death changes a family, especially a small one like ours. But what I’ve come to realize is the minute you step up and reach out to help others in their grief, it feels so much better. Hike for Hospice really is a chance to step up and celebrate the loved ones we’ve lost. It’s a fun event we look forward to every year.”