Osoyoos Times Staff
If you see Louise Szalay walking about in the South Okanagan, she wants you to know she’s not looking for a lift, but taking part in the annual Hike for Hospice — albeit in a much different way this year.
Louise Szalay is a volunteer for the Desert Valley Hospice Society which sponsors the Hike for Hospice fundraiser each year in May.
Due to the cancellation of all group events during the pandemic, the hike has been adapted as a virtual event.
Participants are urged to conduct their sponsored hike in any way they can: around the yard, the neighbourhood or town.
Szalay has chosen to up the challenge by pledging to walk 75 km each week in May to support the Hospice Society and the valuable work they do in Oliver, Osoyoos, and Okanagan Falls.
“Many people do not even know the work of the Hospice Society in their community,” Szalay said. “The group supports our vulnerable citizens in long term care and in private homes by offering comfort and emotional and social connection. I was not even aware of all the services of the society until I joined as a volunteer and I am in awe of all the ways they support the aged and palliative community members.”
The current lockdown has been particularly difficult for those isolated in their homes and the long-term care homes, Szalay said, and the loneliness is a huge factor in their emotional and physical health.
“I am really missing not being able to visit my friends in Sunnybank. If anything, this pandemic should be placing much needed focus on the needs of our elderly and vulnerable community members. We are all aging and will all find ourselves at a place in life when we will require the love and support of the community. I just want the Hospice Society to still be there for all of us.”
Louise took to the trails in preparation for this challenge about a month ago. She’s walked to from Oliver to Osoyoos a couple of times and is regular along the Hike and Bike path along the Okanagan river.
If you’re looking to join up or register to donate to the Desert Valley Hospice Society’s Hike for Hospice click here.