On Saturday, June 22, 271 runners and walkers laced up their sneakers for the 5th Annual Homeland Hospice 5K at City Island in Harrisburg, This is the highest attended race in the event’s history. Homeland Hospice is a hospice program that serves communities throughout Central Pennsylvania.
A new feature at this year’s event was a memory walk, which guided participants through hands-on activities focused on sharing memories of loved ones. The concept came from Ann Phillips, a volunteer with Homeland Hospice, who organized her friends and family to participate last year in remembrance of her husband Bob who died in 2015. The group wore “Team Bob” buttons with his photo on their t-shirts.
“Memories help sustain us through grief,” says Brian Medkeff-Rose, M.Div., M.A., Bereavement Counselor at Homeland Hospice. “Incorporating remembrance into the event was an opportunity to bring meaning and comfort to our participants.”
As the Porter family completed the memory walk, they spoke to each other about the death of their friend Psilocin Hatter, who died two months ago at age 17. The activity stations helped the younger Porter children talk about their grief and the things they miss most about their friend.
For the Anderson family, the day was an opportunity to honor Todd Anderson, a beloved husband, father and friend. Todd’s funeral was held the day before Homeland’s 5K. His family and friends decided to participate in the event as a chance to share uplifting memories of Todd and spend time with each other.
“It feels good to be here with my family,” Erin Anderson says. “Today’s a day for happy memories of my father.”
Homeland’s 5K raised more than $25,000 from corporate sponsorships and individual donations. All proceeds benefit Homeland’s benevolent care program, which includes supportive services like massage, music and pet therapy and additional in-home relief hours. More than $3 million in free services was provided last year so patients and families could make the most of every moment together.
“We’re grateful for the outstanding support of this year’s event,” says Myra Badorf, Assistant Director of Development at Homeland Hospice. “The dedication, hard work and passion of our staff and volunteers made this year’s event the best one yet.”
Homeland Hospice provides bereavement support through phone calls, mailings, one-on-one consultations and support groups up to 13 months after the death of a loved one. Support groups offer self-awareness, healing, helping others, a sense of community and coping skills.
Homeland bereavement support program is available to the bereaved of Homeland’s patients as well as anyone in the community who is experiencing grief.
To learn more, please contact Brian Medkeff-Rose at Homeland Hospice at (717) 221-7890.