Gerri Sing from the Alberni Valley Hospice Society board puts up a sign promoting Stepping Out for Ty Watson House, a unique fundraiser happening May 15 to 31 in Port Alberni. (Susan Quinn/ Alberni Valley News)

Gerri Sing from the Alberni Valley Hospice Society board puts up a sign promoting Stepping Out for Ty Watson House, a unique fundraiser happening May 15 to 31 in Port Alberni. (Susan Quinn/ Alberni Valley News)

Who’s ready to step out this spring?

Walk, run, golf or paddle for Alberni Valley Hospice

Alberni Valley residents are spoiled for choice when it comes to getting busy in the great outdoors. From paddling local waterways to hiking the Port Alberni Inlet Trail to jogging your favourite city route, virtually endless opportunities await.

Even better? This spring, you can put those explorations to work for your community!

From May 15 to 31, the Alberni Valley Hospice Society hosts the inaugural “Stepping Out for Ty Watson House,” a chance to choose an activity you enjoy and get moving.

Walk, bike, hike, golf, paddle – whatever gets you moving will be the ideal vehicle for this virtual community fundraiser for the vital local organization.

“As a result of COVID-19 and the restrictions placed on social gatherings, we are not able to host an event that allows participants to congregate at one time in a single location,” says Society Board Member Gerri Sing.

“Instead, we’ve created an event that is spread over the last two weeks in May and are asking participants to select their own outdoor activity – something they really enjoy doing. The best part is, we are giving everyone a comfortable window of time to complete their activity. Individuals and teams can choose their activity and set their distance goals – all while maintaining safe social distancing protocols.”

In fact, Hospice organizers have even outlined a few awesome walking routes for added inspiration – everything from a 2-kilometre Burde Pond loop to a 4.8km Fir Baby Trail. For those who prefer a flat surface, there’s the wheelchair-accessible track at Bob Dailey Stadium.

Stepping out is easy

To join the fun, register for FREE as an individual or team online – any pledges that you gather can be made online or cheques can be mailed to the hospice office. Complete your selected activity anytime between May 15 and 31, being sure to follow all Provincial Health social distancing guidelines.

Want to make an even bigger impact? Challenge your friends, family and co-workers to register and beat your goal!

“We have a number of teams and local business people who are challenging their neighbours and colleagues – it’s a great way to raise awareness and generate vital funds for Hospice at a time when events such as the Butterfly Effect and Black Ty Gala can’t be held as a result of COVID-19,” Gerri says.

Registration is ongoing until May 31, and all proceeds will support the Alberni Valley Hospice Society, which provides palliative care through Ty Watson House.

Despite the challenges of having fewer funds to work with and the expense of making operational and physical changes to the house as a result of COVID-19, Ty Watson House has continued to operate and serve the community. “Occupancy in the past year has averaged 80 to 100 per cent. And thanks to a very dedicated group of volunteers and staff, we have been able to provide the best possible palliative care for our residents and ongoing support for family members,” Gerri says.

To learn more, visit albernihospice.ca

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