SOMC’s Hike for Hospice takes action to support local patients and their families

PORTSMOUTH—The Southern Ohio Medical Center Hike for Hospice is scheduled for Saturday, June 18 at the SOMC Friends Center.

Although the event has been sidelined in the past due to the COVID pandemic, organizers are hoping for a strong turnout when the annual event resumes.

Proceeds from the hike benefit the SOMC’s Hospice Caritas fund, which supports patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families, according to a SOMC press release. The fund ensures palliative care patients and their families have the support they need to navigate the complexities of end-of-life care.

Ann Luther, Hospice Relations Coordinator, explained in the press release that this event is a valuable way for the community to support the cause.

“Hike for Hospice is a way for those who have been impacted by SOMC Hospice to give back while celebrating the memory of their loved one,” Luther said.

Registration for the event will begin at 8:30 a.m. on the morning of the ride. Participants must start the course at 9:30 a.m.

In the past, Hike for Hospice started at the Hospice Center, but this year the course will start and end at the SOMC Friends Center, located at 1202 18th Street in Portsmouth.

The characteristics of the course have also changed this year. Rather than featuring a hilly course, this year’s course is a relatively flat 3.2-mile walk, ensuring a more accessible course for participants of all ages.

A symbolic balloon release in memory of the respective relatives of each participant will take place before the participants begin the march.

Although registration for the event is free, individuals are encouraged to donate to the Hospice Caritas Fund to provide hospice patients and their families with the support they need during hospice care. T-shirts commemorating the 2022 ride will also be available for purchase in the main SOMC lobby until June 2 from 7:00 a.m. until 3 p.m.

The Hospice Caritas Fund helps make a positive difference in the lives of hospitalized patients and their families. According to the SOMC Development Foundation, the fund helps provide local patients with “the comfort, support and care they deserve at a time when they need it most.”

Mary Arnzen, Major Gifts and Planned Giving Manager for the SOMC Development Foundation, explained that the Hospice Caritas Fund receives financial support from this event through corporate sponsorships, T-shirt sales and individual donations. .

Those unable to attend the event can make an individual donation to the fund by visiting the SOMC Development Foundation online at

For those attending the walk, Arnzen said the hospice walk allows grieving families to come together in a meaningful way.

“The hike is more than just fundraising. This is sometimes part of the grieving process. Many families will come together and do this in memory of their loved one. They might even buy the same shirts and all wear the same shirt[s] with their name[s] on the back. It’s healing as much as anything for families who have been touched by hospice,” Arnzen said.

The Hospice Ride will start and end at the SOMC Friends Center, 1202 18th Street in Portsmouth. Registration is free and begins at 8:30 a.m. with the walk scheduled for 9:30 a.m.

Those looking for additional information about donating or hiking for the hospice can call (740) 356-5609.

Participants in a previous Hospice Walk set off to begin the walk. Unlike past years, this year’s ride will begin and end at the SOMC Friends Center.

Hike for Hospice traditionally features a pre-walk balloon release in honor of loved ones of participants impacted by palliative care.

Contact Kasie McCreary at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by e-mail to [email protected]

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