Take a dip and raise money for a critical Greater Trail cause

The hospice society’s Swimathon goes March 5 in the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre

Whether it’s by “splash” or “cash,” people living in Greater Trail are being asked to support hospice services in the region.

Next week, the Greater Trail Hospice Society (GTHS) is once again holding the “Swimathon,” its biggest fundraiser of the year.

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The event will be held on Thursday, March 5, between noon and 8 p.m. at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

This year the society is asking people to support “Splash for Cash” by either swimming or pledging a swimmer.

How it works, is that swimmers sign up and get a package with pledge sheets and information.

The swimmers then commit to a certain length of swim and obtain pledges to support their swim.

It can be a few laps or 100 – it doesn’t matter and the length is determined by the swimmer.

“One of our swimmers has committed to 5.9 kilometers in preparation for a longer swim later this summer,” explained board member Barbara Gibson.

“And this year we are aiming to raise $15,000 which sounds like a lot, but we have swimmers who consistently get pledges of over $3,000.”

There will be prizes for the longest swim, the most money raised, and for the youngest and oldest participants.

“The Swimathon is a great way for us to raise money for hospice,” said Gibson. “So be ready to pledge when asked, if you do not want to swim.”

To pledge or donate by credit card go to the GTHS website at www.trailhospice.org and hit the “donate” button.

For further information contact the GTHS office at 250.364.6204.

The Swimathon is the only annual fundraiser for hospice.

Money raised at this special event augments donations received and a small grant from Interior Health.

The money is used for volunteer and staff training, adding to the hospice library, and providing workshops for the community regarding end-of-life issues.

“As the demand for hospice services grows, we need more trained volunteers ready to provide compassionate care for both our clients and their family be that at their home, in the hospital or in a care facility,” said Gibson.

“Our annual volunteer training prepares people for bedside respite and provides a deeper understanding of what is involved in hospice and the various supports that can be accessed for our clients.”

In addition, the society provides yearly enhanced training for volunteers who are made aware of the latest work in hospice care.

The newest development in hospice is training Navigator volunteers.

The NavCare program was developed as a test program in Trail in conjunction with the University of British Columbia and is now being taught all over Canada.

It specifically addresses issues that rural hospices face.

“These volunteers establish a relationship with clients and provide them with information about what services are available to them and how to navigate the healthcare system,” Gibson explained.

“These are usually relationships that develop over time building on the knowledge and expertise of the volunteer.”

Another new offering Greater Trail Hospice will be providing to their clients this year is a virtual reality program.

“This may involve a ‘trip’ to fulfill a bucket list request or it may be a ‘trip’ to see a town or place that holds a special meaning for the client,” said Gibson.

“We would hope to have enough VR (virtual reality) glasses that the immediate family can share in the ‘trip.’”

About hospice care:

Hospice care is a special kind of care that focuses on the quality of life for people and their caregivers who are experiencing an advanced, life-limiting illness. Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the last phases of incurable disease so that they may live as fully and comfortably as possible.


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