On Sunday morning, approximately 300 cyclists converged on the Lake County Fairgrounds to kick off the 11th Annual Hospice Hustle, hosted by Hospice of the Calumet Area. The event co-chairs, Dr. Gus Galante, and Bill Hasse, Hasse Construction, welcomed the group and were on hand to offer support and instruction, before embarking on the ride themselves. Both Galante and Hasse, avid cyclists, have co-chaired the event all 11 years.
“Hospice Hustle brings together people in a healthy and fun environment. It gets the hospice's message, “To Cherish Life,” to a diverse group. As co-chair we get the opportunity to work with Hospice staff and volunteers. Our friends and family get a scenic tour of Lake County. What better way to spend a beautiful Sunday and raise contributions for Hospice of the Calumet Area?” shared Hasse.
The participants were treated to a breakfast of pancakes and Starbucks coffee preceding the event. After the cyclists were fueled, they made their way to the start line. Smiles, laughter, and camaraderie could be seen and heard as the riders were happy to be supporting such a worthwhile cause on a gorgeous fall morning.
The event offered the participants a beautiful ride along the route of rural southern Lake County, Indiana as they chose either the 25, 62, or 100 mile course. The century ride was added last year upon encouragement from the long distance cyclists, and to celebrate the 10th year of the event.
Although the event initially began as a walk, hence the name Hospice Hustle, it gradually morphed into a walk/cycling event and eventually transitioned into a cycling only affair that continues to evolve each year. “It’s an event that really anybody can do. It can be enjoyed by families and multi-generations” said Adrianne May, Executive Director, Hospice of the Calumet Area. “Some participate as a remembrance in honor of a loved one who passed away. It’s really a nice, family friendly event.”
Along the route, the one and only sag stop was hosted at the home of Pat and James Gildersleeve. This was the second year they hosted the stop. “It’s exciting to see so many cyclists of all ages. We enjoy it” they shared.
Cyclist, Brian Knaley, rode the 62 mile route in honor of his father and the excellent care his father received from Hospice of the Calumet Area at South Elizabeth Health Care. He also spoke of his appreciation to the organization for the comfort offered to his family during this time.
“Hospice is a wonderful organization. Having friends and family members who have used Hospice and speak very highly of the program, that’s why we’re here supporting the event,” shared Craig Dwight, Chairman and CEO, Horizon Bank.
Upon completion of the ride, 95ate5 Brew Pub and Comfort’s catering were on hand providing craft beer and chili. For dessert, compliments of Culver’s of Crown Point , vanilla and chocolate custard was served. Two massage therapists were standing at the ready to help those that needed care following their ride.
“It’s good for the community, both from a cycling aspect, and to support Hospice of the Calumet Area” said Bill Champion of The Region Racing Team. Sponsored by Strack and Van Til, the team has participated in the event for 10 years. “It raises funds for families that need it. Hospice is for everybody. It’s a bad time in their lives at that point, both for the person going through it, and their families. Hospice helps you get through it.”
“Hospice of the Calumet Area has great volunteers, an excellent staff, and it’s an excellent organization with a very productive board. It’s a very important service in our community” shared Galante.
Hospice of the Calumet Area, a not-for-profit organization has been providing expert, compassionate care to individuals and families in Northwest Indiana and neighboring Illinois communities for 34 years.
For more information regarding Hospice of the Calumet Area, please call 219-922-2732 or visit their website at http://www.hospicecalumet.org.