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Sweet and Savory Tarts to Hike for Hospice in team captain’s honour

Hike for Hospice Sue Keller group

The Sweet and Savory Tarts 2012 – Jane Stevens, Chris Legault, Pat McKay, Patricia Gale, Kathryn Andrews, Sue Keller, Sharon Cranston. Evan Nash photo

Bloomfield Cookbook club members are lacing up their sneakers for the second annual Hike for Hospice, but this year they are walking without their team captain, Susan Keller, who died in February after a courageous battle with cancer.

At this year’s Sunday, May 5 event, the women will hike in Sue’s honour and to support Pat, her life and business partner of 26 years.

Sue and Pat were well-known in Bloomfield and beyond for their Retro Bakery on Cory Street and their award-winning, old-fashioned fruit cake and cookies baked from scratch. They were also known for their support of local projects in the community they called home.

Last year, Sue formed one of the first Hike for Hospice teams called the “Sweet and Savory Tarts”. She believed in Hospice, and was also aware she was going to need hospice in the future.

“Her wish was to finish her end-of-life journey at home surrounded by family and friends,” said Pat, who was determined to fulfill Sue’s wishes. “I knew I was going to need help to provide the best care possible to keep Sue at home and comfortable.”

Pat was already familiar with Hospice having had help when her mother died a few years before. She called Hospice Prince Edward and soon met with client-care coordinator Audrey Whitney.

“When Audrey came to the house for the first visit, everything fell into place and I knew that I was going to be able to accomplish my role as a caregiver and as a life partner,” Pat said. “It was only a few hours later Hospice assigned a volunteer who became my anchor for the months ahead. We had friends and neighbours who offered help, and hospice staff and our assigned volunteer created a circle of care group that became the source of my strength.  Honestly, my hospice volunteer became my hospice angel as she would arrive at just the moment that I needed her most. I cannot imagine those last few weeks without hospice guidance and support. It is for this reason that we are walking in the Hike for Hospice again. It will not be easy, but it is another way to celebrate Sue’s life.”

On Sunday May 5, thousands of people across the nation will participate in the Hike for Hospice. Some will hike to remember and celebrate the life of a loved one and others will join in to give to the organization so others can also receive the benefits of hospice during their end-of-life journey.

Hospice Prince Edward’s community residential hospice home is expected to open at 40 Downes Ave., Picton, in June. At a residential hospice, staff and volunteers, work together with community health care partners to provide care and compassionate support free-of-charge in a home-like setting to those near end of life.

All funds raised from the Hike for Hospice event will be used to pay for ongoing operating expenses such as heating, hydro, insurance, water and care and maintenance of the home.

Everybody can take part in PEC’s Hike For Hospice by creating a team, collecting pledges, or sponsoring a hiker or volunteer. For information,  call the hospice office at 613 476 2181 x 4253 or visit the www.hospiceprincedward.ca web site and follow the links to get involved.

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