In remembrance Over 100 runners support Community VNA through annual fundraiser

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Dr. Mark Young, director of the The 5K Run/Walk to Remember, addresses the crowd prior to the start of the fundraiser, held on Sunday, Aug. 4. Staff Photo/Max Bowen 
Christina Bonneville sings the National Anthem at the The 5K Run/Walk to Remember on Sunday. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Over 100 runners take off from the starting line at the Run/Walk to Remember, held at the Town Common on Sunday, Aug. 4. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Many of those running in Sunday’s fundraiser did so in memory of late loved ones who had received hospice care from the Community VNA. Staff Photo/Max Bowen

In remembrance

Over 100 runners support Community VNA through annual fundraiser 

Some ran, some walked. Some wore yellow T-shirts, others donned colors for their teams.

But all came together for the same reason.

The 5K Run/Walk to Remember, held at the Town Common on Sunday, Aug. 4, continued a 17-year tradition of supporting the Community VNA Hospice. For patients with life-threatening illnesses, Community VNA’s multi-disciplinary team—comprised of a medical director, nurses, social workers, spiritual and support staff, and volunteers—works to provide a continuum of palliative and hospice care services. 

Carol Wood and Joe Viola have both participated in the fundraiser for years. Wood has been a walker in the fundraiser for the last few years, while Viola has been there since the beginning.

“They’re angels,” said Wood of the fundraiser.

Dr. Mark Young, the race director, said the event came about when his running group, The Runaways, were searching for a cause to support. As a physician, he’s known of the services that the VNA provides, and recalled a friend of his, Bill Beardsworth, who was in hospice before passing away two years ago. He said that most kinds of insurance doesn’t cover the kind of care one receives in hospice. 

“You don’t want to be unable to get end-of-life care, which is so important,” he said.

On average the event sees more than 100 runners, walkers, and those who use assistive devices such as wheelchairs. To date, it has raised through sponsorships, group/team fundraisers, individual donations, and registrations, a total of $7,800. The goal is to raise $10,000 through Sunday’s event. 

Danny Horgan was the first to cross the finish line. He said he heard of the run through word of mouth and decided it would be a good thing to join.

“It’s a fun way to spend a Sunday morning,” he said.

Zeph Halsey, a coach with Orangetheory Fitness, donned an orange top hat and bow tie. After he crossed the finish line he ran back along the course to cheer on his teammates. This was the business’ first time participating in the run. Halsey said he heard of Community VNA when his wife’s friend was admitted to hospice care.

“It doesn’t get more important,” he said.  

Danny Horgan was the first to cross the finish line in the 5K Run/Walk to Remember, which supports the Community VNA. Staff Photo/Max Bowen
Zeph Halsey, of the Orangetheory Fitness team, crosses the finish line. Afterward, he ran alongside each team member to encourage them as they finished the race. Staff Photo/Max Bowen