There were turbo-charged racecars and exotic antiques, vintage motorcycles and classic sports cars and even a few beat-up pick-up trucks. A total of 92 vehicles participated in this September’s Rally 4 Hospice in support of the Foothills Country Hospice Society in Okotoks. The 214 kilometer rally weaved its way through the highways and byways of Southern Alberta culminating in a wrap-up drive-In party, concert and auction.
The family of the late Lyle Wunderlich entered 20 vehicles. “Our Dad was the pillar of strength and the backbone in our family,” says daughter Jennifer Darrow. “To lose him at such a young age was devastating but everyone at the Hospice helped us through it as best they could. In gratitude, we will ride in his honour each year.”
The Rally raised $180 thousand. Major sponsors included Okotoks Ford Lincoln, Century 21 Foothills Real Estate, Infinite Chartered Accounts and Mawer Investment Management Ltd.
“Rally 4 Hospice is our largest fundraising event of the year and is incredibly important helping meet the financial needs of our Hospice,” says Dawn Elliott, executive director, Foothills Country Hospice. “It costs more than a thousand dollars per resident per day to run our eight bed facility. Alberta Health Services contributes 57 per cent towards covering these costs and we are required to fundraise the rest. It is important to know that there is no cost to our residents for their hospice care or meals while they are with us,” adds Elliott.
The final rally destination was the High River Sunset Drive-In where participants enjoyed individually packed meals delivered by masked volunteers on golf carts. Musical group The Mocking Shadows performed two sets, transmitted through FM radios. Other volunteers delivered beverages and there was a special live “horny” auction where participants honked their horns to make a bid.
“Anyone who has battled a terminal illness or is nearing the end of their life deserves a little piece of heaven on earth,” says Jennifer Darrow. “Our Dad received just that from the Foothills Country Hospice. They ensured that his last weeks on earth were the best he could have, from making a special dinner for Dad and Mom’s 39th wedding anniversary, to their attentive care, empathetic pain management and even grief support for the family – everyone at the Hospice has become near and dear to our hearts.”
Foothills Country Hospice serves a rural population of more than 90,000 Albertans in addition to the citizens of Calgary and since opening in 2008 has cared for over 1,200 residents and their loved ones. “The demand continues to grow,” says Executive Director Dawn Elliott, “We offer a very special place for our residents to spend their final days or months of life.”
For more information about the Foothills Country Hospice, please visit countryhospice.org