The annual Visiting Nurse Association Stroll for Hospice kicked off the month of May and the whole community was invited to come and take part in the festivities. Over 200 walkers showed up to walk in the memory of a lost loved one and to give support to the VNA so that the nonprofit can further its mission of providing aging, palliative, hospice and grief support services in the Region.
The event took place at Central Park Plaza in downtown Valparaiso on a mild Sunday afternoon. The walk was an easy pace that covered about two miles in the downtown area, and brought participants back to the plaza. Leading the walk were veterans who were honored with the post as part of the VNA’s "We Honor Veterans" program.
Along the route were signs that were created by participants who raised over $100 for the cause. These signed were creatively decorated with photos of loved ones who had since passed, drawn pictures, kinds words, and prayers.
“It was a very sweet gesture,” Maria Galka, Director of Development for the VNA said. “This has become a family tradition and we have some families who have been involved since the beginning.”
Afterward, participants were able to take part in fun activities that fit all ages like face painting, crafts, a bounce house, music from a talented DJ, and enjoy copious amounts of good food.
“We started this event in 2002 as an outdoor picnic but it grew every year since,” Galka said. “We had 16 sponsors this year, more sponsorships than ever before, and even more gifts from in-kind sponsors.”
The presenting sponsor was Uzelac & Associates, and with their contribution as well as the help of the rest of the generous sponsors, the Stroll for Hospice was able to offer many cool activities in one of Valpo’s best event locales.
Over 60 volunteers helped to make the event a success. They handed out water to the walkers, served food, helped with participant registration, oversaw the crosswalks to keep pedestrians and motorists safe, and more.
“The funds that were collected at the Stroll for Hospice will be used for hospice care in the community. We have many programs that will get help and we are able to go above and beyond what is mandated and concentrate on what the patient needs and what the family needs thanks to our generous communities,” Galka said.
For more information on the Visiting Nurse Association, visit http://www.vnanwi.org/.
Photos provided by the Visiting Nurse Association