REGION — As the beautiful hiking weather rolls in, Androscoggin Home Healthcare + Hospice (Androscoggin) has taken advantage of the new season to hold their inaugural “Hike for Hospice Androscoggin” fundraising event.
Interested parties are encouraged to “walk, run, bike, ride in memory of loved ones lost” to raise funds for Androscoggin’s charitable efforts from Monday, May 10, to Friday, May 21. At the time of publication, Androscoggin had raised over $33,447.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event is virtual, giving participants the opportunity to pick the date and location of their hike over the span of two weeks. “Hike for Hospice” took the place of Androscoggin’s regular 5K Hospice House 5K Remembrance walk.
Among those hiking are Wilton-couple James and Lynne Buchheit, who hiked in Rangeley at the Wilhelm Reich estate on on Saturday, May 15. Lynne is a seamstress in Wilton and James is a hospice nurse for Androscoggin covering the Farmington area. James and Lynne are hiking for their mothers, Lois Buchheit and Bonnie Carson, who both passed away after receiving hospice in the last year.
James also hiked “for the patients, for the families that I have taken care of, gotten to know and get really close to over the last year.”
James and Lynne spent the hike in “reflection,” and “remembering, having memories of my mom and talking about her,” said James.
Androscoggin is raising money to provide “free care” for patients who can’t afford treatment for reasons such as being uninsured, James explained. Androscoggin provides hospice care to “all Mainers,” “regardless of their ability to pay,” according to their site.
“Those funds fund hospice care to ensure that everyone regardless of their financial means, if they have insurance or not, are served. Last year, in 2020, we gave $1.4 million of free care to 941 beneficiaries,” said Kristen Melville, Androscoggin’s Director of Development and Community Relations. “We never want to say no to anyone that needs us. That’s why fundraising and philanthropy is so important to this organization.”
“People are already out walking and hiking. It’s an opportunity to turn what you are already doing into support for others,” said Melville. She said this is a “critical year” and that the “need” to raise funds is “greater than before.”
At the time of publication, Androscoggin had raised $33,447. The event will run through Friday, May 21. Those interested in donating or participating can learn more at https://androscoggin.org/events/hike/ and https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/hikeforhospice.