When my mother, Carlene, was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer in 2011, it was my sister who knew what to do.
She had lost her husband to cancer, so she knew the moment Mom was diagnosed we should call JourneyCare for supportive care.
Mom began treatment like so many people. But the chemotherapy made her sick. So she would be admitted to the hospital, feel more comfortable, be discharged, and then feel sick again. The cycle continued.
Within three months doctors ran tests and said the cancer had not spread. To me, that sounded good. But they also told her she needed to gain her strength for more rounds of chemotherapy, but Mom never regained her strength and soon she was admitted to the hospital again. It was time for hospice.
JourneyCare then came to our house and essentially told us “Whatever you need, we will take care of everything.”
It was really at that point that I saw what JourneyCare does and I was so impressed. It was my first interaction with hospice and the way the care team treated my mother and my whole family just floored me. Every step of the way, they were there.
When Mom’s last day arrived, we were as prepared as you can be in this situation. But even when that happened, her care did not stop. The team at the CareCenter held a ceremony of life, where she was led out covered with a quilt and everyone observed a moment of silence while chimes rang to honor her.
It was after that when I turned to my daughter and said, “We have to help these people,” and she replied “I absolutely agree!”
Since my daughter is a marathon runner, our family chose to launch the McHenry Turkey Trot for Hospice on Thanksgiving to benefit JourneyCare. Since Mom died near Thanksgiving it seemed like a wonderful way to honor her, while also bringing the popular Turkey Trot to McHenry.
We didn’t have experience organizing and publicizing a race, so we sought out many mentors. It was easy to find them, though, because as soon as you say you are raising money for hospice, people reply “How can I help?” because it has touched so many lives.
By the time race day arrived, we had 600 runners and raised $17,000 for JourneyCare. We were blown away. Since then the race has grown to 800 runners and we have raised $93,000 for JourneyCare. We hope you will help us reach the $100,000 mark this Thanksgiving! Our event includes cash prizes for top finishers, post-race raffle prizes, finish photos, chip timing and medals to the top three male and female finishers.
If you cannot participate, you can still donate via PayPal and Amazon at http://mchenryturkeytrot. com/donations.
We are touched each year by the support. Many families message us to say this has become a family tradition, while others share how hospice has helped them. We are also excited that JourneyCare will be entering a team this year.
My favorite part of the race is bringing the check every year to JourneyCare. And that is because I know the tremendous good it will do.
5TH ANNUAL MCHENRY TURKEY TROT FOR HOSPICE
WHEN: 8 a.m. Thursday, November 24, 2016
WHERE: McHenry High School, East Campus, 1012 N. Green St., McHenry
REGISTRATION: $30 in advance; $35 at the race; Free for ages 8 and younger with registered adult