The last time Marilyn Morgan took part in the Fort Langley Historic Half Marathon fundraiser for the Langley Hospice, about five years ago, she ran it with her dad, Langley mayor Jack Froese.
This year, Froese was there to cheer his daughter on as she ran to honour the memory of her mother, Debbie Froese, who passed away on Jan. 9, after a long battle with cancer.
“This is for my mom,” Morgan explained, as she waited for the starter’s horn to sound.
“Langley Hospice is very important for me.”
Morgan was one of more than 500 people who took part in the annual run, which took a different path, on Sunday morning (Jan. 16).
After flooding washed out a section of 240th Street between Rawlison Crescent and 88th Avenue, the route had to be re-drawn.
Instead of starting at the Fort Langley National Historic Site, the event began and ended at Bedford Plaza, following the Fraser River along the Fort to Fort trail.
It included a half marathon, 10 and 5 km routes, and a kid’s run.
Despite the change of venue, attendance was up compared to the previous year, estimated race director Mitchell Hudson of TRY Events, the organizing group behind the annual event.
The good weather — sunny and relatively warm — likely had something to do with the good turnout, Hudson added.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Hudson observed.
Brand, the program coordinator, said people are sometimes “taken aback and audibly gasp,” when they hear about the service she and Lavallee, provide.
“People don’t understand how resilient kids are,” Brand commented.
It is a recreati0n and play-based program to help children deal with the loss of a loved one, Brand elaborated.
“We have a big playroom,” Lavallee observed.
Hospice volunteer Dave Turner, who has served as the self-described “odd-job man” at the hospice society Second Story Treasures thrift store at 20349 – 88 Ave. for the last 10 years, was taking part in his third 5K.
“We’ve had friends of ours who’ve been in various hospices,” the 81-year-old Walnut Grove resident told the Langley Advance Times.
It will be a few days before the total amount of donations raised is tabulated, said Shannon Todd Booth, the society communications and funds development manager.
“It [the half marathon] brings in a few thousand dollars and it raises awareness,” Todd Booth said.
“It’s not one of our largest fundraisers, but it is important.”
Long-time hospice supporter Dale Attrell, 91, was the top individual fundraiser once again, bringing in more than $1,000.
For more than 35 years, the Langley Hospice Society has provided palliative and bereavement care and support programs for people who have experienced the death of a significant person in their lives.
Among the programs provided are the Supportive Steps walking group for bereaved adults; a child and infant loss support group, a support group for parents who’ve lost an adult child to suicide or substance use; as well as seasonal day camps and summer camp programs.
More photos of the Sunday event can be viewed online.