Youngster raises thousands for Hospice

A young boy was featured during a charity event this past weekend because he was the top fundraiser in Red Deer for the event.

A young boy was featured during a charity event this past weekend because he was the top fundraiser in Red Deer for the event.

Six-year-old Carson McRobbie raised $3,910 for this year’s Hike for Hospice. The event was held on Sunday. The Hospice serves all of Central Alberta.

The fundraiser is a national event with thousands of participants across Canada. This annual event helps recognize the valuable work done by hospice palliative care volunteers and health care providers across the country, and is helping to build awareness of the need for better access to quality end-of-life care for Canada’s aging population.

The Hike had a new location this year and took place within the Kerry Wood Nature Centre sanctuary.

“Carson decided to form a team this year for the event. We have walked in it in past years but we haven’t actually formed a team – we’ve just showed up to support it,” said Amy McRobbie, Carson’s mom. “This year, Carson’s initial goal was to raise $200 and that’s what we were going for figuring we would get – $5 here and $10 there. Within hours he reached the goal so we bumped it up to $1,000 and it’s taken off since then.”

Carson’s team was also chosen to be this year’s 2013 Hike Family at the local event. Carson has raised money through friends and family as well as through classmates and others at Annie L. Gaetz Elementary School. Seventy-two people have helped Carson exceed his fundraising goal.

“It makes me feel good that they are helping me,” he said.

Carson has a special connection to the Red Deer Hospice. Right before he was born, his grandmother, Amy’s mother, Linda Blackwood, was a resident at the Hospice before she passed. Blackwood, who had breast cancer, was the very first resident at the Red Deer Hospice when they first opened in 2005. She was at the Hospice for about six months before she passed away. She was 49.

“It was amazing that she was able to be there. She could not have asked for a better final six months. The staff was so wonderful and it comforted the family just knowing she was there,” said Amy.

After Linda passed, Carson was born a month later.

Amy has volunteered at the Red Deer Hospice in the past and Carson would ask if there was anything he could do there to help. “Before we got our reminder card in the mail about the walk, Carson asked if there was anything he could do at the Hospice to volunteer. He asked if could read to somebody now that he is learning to read a little bit. And he also had the idea of bringing flowers to somebody,” said Amy. “He just wants to brighten someone’s day.”

Carson plans on volunteering at the Hospice. “I thought about it for a while and thought what I could do,” said Carson. “It makes me feel really good inside.”

Amy said she is very proud of her son for taking the initiative to help those in need.

“It’s amazing. I’m very, very, very proud and I’m overwhelmed with all of the support we got.”

As for the Hike for Hospice, the fundraiser continues to grow each year.

“We have three main goals that we hope to achieve: fundraising, awareness and recognition,” said Marian Cloutier, fund development and marketing coordinator at the Red Deer Hospice. “Volunteer hikers help us to achieve all three. Not only do they raise necessary funds for Red Deer Hospice’s programs and services in our community, they also help to raise awareness of the need for hospice palliative care and they build recognition of the fact that Central Alberta has a wonderful Hospice facility.” According to Statistics Canada, more than 259,000 Canadians die each year and that number is projected to increase to more than 330,000 by 2020.

Almost 90% of those who die each year in Canada could benefit from hospice palliative care, but only two or three out of 10 are lucky enough to receive hospice palliative end-of-life care, officials say. Even fewer receive support to help them and their families cope with grief and bereavement

Red Deer Hospice is working to ensure that more Canadians, especially in Central Alberta, realize that the community has a quality end-of-life care facility, and that staff are there to care for and support families.

“We didn’t really know a lot about the Hospice until my mom went there and I don’t think a lot of people know what they are all about. It’s such a warm, loving place. You walk in and it feels just like you are at home. It’s an amazing place and it’s amazing what they do there,” said Amy.

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