Published February 16, 2010
Volume 18, Number 2

Hope Hospice’s First Hike for Hope Will Debut May 1

If hiking through the woods during wildflower season has long been on your “must-do” list, there are no more excuses to put it off. The 1st Annual Hike for Hope, sponsored by Hope Hospice, will take participants on a trek through gentle terrain in the Sunol Regional Wilderness, which should be abloom with wildflowers on the appointed day, Saturday, May 1.

Hope Hospice is the Dublin-based nonprofit organization that provides compassionate care, insight, and guidance as Tri-Valley families navigate through the end-of-life process. The idea for the memorial hike sprang from a conversation between long-time friends Donna McMillion, Hospice’s Development Director, and Dolores Bengtson, the community leader and former Pleasanton parks and recreation director, for whom Pleasanton’s Aquatic Center is named.

“Hike for Hope is a unique fundraiser for the Grief Support Center at Hope Hospice,” explains McMillion. “It stands out from the typical run or walk. Instead of city streets, participants will be in the midst of Nature, vibrant with the beauty of spring. Hikers can participate in memory or honor of a loved one, with their pledges going to support Hospice’s valuable services.”

“We like the way a memorial hike appeals to a broader group of people,” Bengtson relates. “It’s not a competitive event. It encourages people to exercise and use the park system. It’s a perfect match with Hospice goals: family togetherness, support, and affirming life. We hope to attract many people who might not ordinarily go on a hike.”

But in order to get those young families and grandparents to sign up, Bengtson and McMillion knew they had to pick just the right spot for the event.   

“This was a really fun part,” says Bengtson, an avid hiker who often leads excursions through the regional parks. She and a few friends had a great time roaming through potential venues. Sunol Wilderness was the last park they explored. “It is the best for us because they have a wonderful trail system that’s very comfortable for a broad range of participants. And it’s very beautiful,” she adds.

The natural beauty will be enhanced by the wildflower bloom Bengtson is expecting for early May. The week before the Sunol hike she will go out to see what is in bloom so she can make a list for hikers to identify. “With all the rain we’ve been having lately, I’m hoping for a nice show.”

The serenity of the setting also provides an appropriate backdrop for the spirit of commemoration. Hikers can tuck a photograph or special memory piece related to their loved one in lanyards that will be distributed on site. Seed packets, approved by the park’s botanist, are available to scatter along the trails as they hike. Stan Goldberg, author of “Lessons for the Living” and a hospice volunteer, will provide musical interludes from a Native American flute.

“Proceeds from the event will provide resources for Hope Hospice’s Grief Support Center offering services and activities to any adult, teen, or child who has lost a loved one to death,” McMillion says. For further information visit www.thehikeforhope.com or call Pattie DiLauro at (925) 829-8770.


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