Hope Hospice's The Hike for Hope Set for May 4

After a one-year hiatus, Hope Hospice's annual The Hike for Hope is back on the calendar for Saturday morning, May 4th. This time the combined commemorative outing and fundraiser is taking place in a new setting, scenic Del Valle Regional Park in Livermore.

Proceeds from the event will assist Hope Hospice as it provides vital services to patients and families, regardless of ability to pay, notes Carolyn Siegfried, Annual Giving Manager of the nonprofit, which was founded in 1980 by a local resident. Today the original all-volunteer agency has become an invaluable community resource with a full professional staff-medical director, hospice nurses, social workers, spiritual care providers, home health aides, dietician, and physical therapist - who collaborate to deliver compassionate care, insight, and guidance to patients with a life-limiting illness. Volunteers round out the team, offering companionship to patients and respite for caregivers.

Patients receive care in their homes or in a facility "so they can live their lives as fully as possible, in comfort and dignity," comments Barbara Hepner, Public Relations and Advertising Manager. While a physician referral is required, hospice services can begin when life expectancy is six months, not just in the final weeks of an illness, she points out. "Many patients or their families have told us that they wish they had known about us sooner. In addition to the latest methods of pain and symptom control to maximize quality of life, our team of professionals provides emotional and spiritual support. We even have a new Voices of Hope volunteer choir, which will come to the bedside and sing for patients who enjoy music."

While most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medi-Cal, pay for hospice services, as a nonprofit the agency does not turn away patients who lack coverage or cannot afford the care. "That's one of the reasons the Hike is so important for us - it allows us to accept patients without insurance," notes Siegfried.

Displaying its concern for all aspects of the end-of-life process, Hope Hospice also offers a bereavement support program, with age-specific groups and one-on-one counseling. The groups are open to the community at large, even if the family member was not served by the organization.

First initiated in spring 2010, The Hike for Hope

is a fitting reflection of Hope Hospice's emphasis on family togetherness, support, and affirming life. "The hike is an opportunity to remember a loved one and we encourage hikers to bring photos or mementos of their special person with them," says the agency's CEO Victoria Emmons.

Two trail options-an easy 2.6 mile roundtrip or a 4.4 mile hike with a moderate incline and spectacular lake and valley views - make the event appropriate for a gamut of age groups, from parents with young children in off-road strollers to co-worker teams seeking to build camaraderie or boost their corporate presence.

Hikers can sign up by going to TheHikeForHope.com or by calling Hope Hospice at 925-829-8770 for a printed registration form. Those who wish to support Hope Hospice but are not able to participate in the event can register as an In-Spirit hiker. Corporate sponsors are also welcome.

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