SCARBOROUGH — From Oct. 3 through the end of the month, everyone is invited to participate in a virtual fundraising event, “Hike for Hospice,” which supports Hospice of Southern Maine’s Gosnell Memorial Hospice House and home hospice program.

The inaugural event is all-inclusive, as participants may choose the route, time, and day they would like to walk, the Hospice of Southern Maine said in an announcement.

Hospice of Southern Maine is a local nonprofit organization that serves community members in York and Cumberland counties, according to a release from Emily Broadbent of Fluent IMC. Caring for more than 1,800 patients a year, Hospice of Southern Maine provides services through the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House, an 18-person facility in Scarborough, its current care facility, and the patient’s home.

“All proceeds raised from the event will support Hospice of Southern Maine’s Gosnell Memorial Hospice House — its 18-bed inpatient facility — and Home Hospice Program, as well as the nonprofit’s overall mission to provide compassion, care and comfort through end of life,” the release said.

Participants may register through www.hikeforhospice.org, with registration fees being $25 for adults, free for children under 5, and reduced fees available for seniors, students, and team members, Hospice of Southern Maine said.

Originally planned to be a hybrid in-person and virtual event, Hike for Hospice has made the switch to an all-virtual activity out of an abundance of caution with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, Daryl Cady, CEO of Hospice of Southern Maine, said.

“Participating in Hike for Hospice is a great way to get out with your family, or those you are ‘quaranteaming’ with, to spend some time outdoors, take a walk, and raise awareness and funds to support Hospice of Southern Maine’s Gosnell Memorial Hospice House and Home Hospice Program,” Cady said.

Similar to other organizations and businesses, Hospice of Southern Maine has had to switch to virtual services and programs, Cady said.

“We’ve seen great success with virtual grief support services and our annual remembrance events, but we know that many people are still struggling with feeling as though they can’t mourn loved ones as they typically might, surrounded by friends and family,” Cady said.

Although the pandemic has presented challenges, Cady said that existing volunteers have been doing an “amazing” job.

“We have home volunteers who, before Covid-19, would have visited patients in person but have now shifted the way they provide support,” she said. “In many cases, this involves helping to stay in touch with family that can’t be physically present, either by assisting patients in setting up the technology they need to do so or by reaching out to families on behalf of patients that can’t communicate themselves. One volunteer has been taking home and repairing the quilts that are used at Gosnell and we have others who read to patients over the phone. Other volunteers in our Tuck-In program make calls to patients on Thursdays to make sure they have all the medications and supplies they need for the upcoming weekend.”

Musicians who play at the Gosnell Memorial Hospice House have been able to play outside, allowing patients to listen through open windows, Cady said.

“Of course, none of these efforts take place without the most stringent safety precautions in place,” she said. “In fact, one of our volunteers made a video of all the safety precautions that are currently in place at Gosnell to demonstrate the process and reiterate to other volunteers and family members that safety is a top priority during this time.”

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