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Hike for Hospice Calgary: Honouring loved ones, celebrating legacy

At Fish Creek on Sunday, May 5, a community will gather not only to hike but to honour the memory of those who have touched their lives in profound ways.

Craig McFarlane is the Hike for Hospice Calgary’s ambassador this year, and has been involved with Hospice Calgary for 24 years.

In 2000, his mother Pat lost her battle with cancer after a stay in hospice. She was, he recalls, “larger than life,” her infectious smile a beacon of joy for all who knew her.

“She was always so happy, smiling… everyone knew her as just the warmest person on the planet,” Craig said. “She knew when she got cancer she didn’t want that just to be the end of it. She got lists and goals of what she wanted to do,” Craig shares.

Among those goals was witnessing her older son’s high school graduation, reaching the age of 40, and experiencing the magic of Disneyland one last time. Even now, decades later, every visit to Disneyland is a poignant reminder of her enduring spirit.

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Click to play video: 'Hospice Calgary wraps up virtual Hike for Hospice'

Hospice Calgary wraps up virtual Hike for Hospice

Now, 24 years after Pat’s passing, Craig, along with his family, participates in the Hike for Hospice Calgary, honoring Pat’s legacy and finding solace in shared experiences.

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“We’ve got lots of fun activities planned. But we also recognize it’s a very hard time. Coming together helps us heal,” said Kelsey Murdoch of Hospice Calgary. “There will be music, face-painting, and the Calgary Stampeders take part too.”

Click to play video: 'Hospice Calgary to open new grief services centre for kids'

Hospice Calgary to open new grief services centre for kids

The hike serves as more than just a physical activity; it’s a gathering uplifted by shared stories. Craig will be sharing his experience at the Hike for Hospice Calgary.

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“Once people are part of this club, you know exactly what they’re going through,” Craig reflects, highlighting the importance of finding connection in times of sorrow.

For Karl Dsouza, the hike holds special significance. Initially joining to support his mother, who works in hospice care, Karl found unexpected comfort in the community after his father’s death.

“My dad passed away in 2020 and Hospice Calgary was there for me back then,” said Dsouza, who is a volunteer for the 2024 event. “So now for me it’s trying to give back in that sense.”

Their stories, alongside countless others, converge on this day at the Hike for Hospice Calgary. This year the goal, alongside impactful conversations, is $100,000.

The walk supports three centres of care; the Children’s Grief Centre, the Living with Advance Illness Centre, and their Rosedale Hospice.

Click to play video: 'Learn more about Hike for Hospice 2017'

Learn more about Hike for Hospice 2017

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