Record-setting amount raised for 12th year of fundraising event
Nearly 400 runners, walkers, and motorcycle riders from all over the region gathered in Randolph on August 18th and 19th and raised $105,000 for the 12th annual Last Mile Ride. The popular two-day fundraiser has raised $646,000 over the years to support unique end-of-life services provided by Gifford Health Care.
Starting in 2006, when 74 motorcyclists rode the very first Last Mile Ride route, the event has expanded into a two-day celebration that includes a timed 5K run and 1- and 2.5 mile walking routes.
Last Mile Ride grows every year as loyal supporters return with an expanding circle of friends and family. Many participate to honor loved ones who received Last Mile Ride support. This year 222 runners and walkers turned out on Friday as a day of heavy rain cleared for the evening events, and on Saturday 171 motorcycle riders participated in the 75-mile morning ride through central Vermont.
The funds raised help people with advanced illness celebrate the time they have left with friends and loved ones, supporting patients in the hospital’s Garden Room suites and also those who choose to remain in their home.
“We’ve flown loved ones home to have last goodbyes with moms; put gas in people’s cars to get here for last moments together, or for a patient to seek treatment at other facilities; and we have hosted five weddings in our Garden Room,” Gifford’s Development Director Ashley Lincoln told the crowd. “Sometimes it’s as simple as a voucher for a pizza or a massage. We depend on you, and knowing that I’ll see you here year after year on the third week in August is key to our success.”
Lincoln noted that the unique needs of these patients and families are never predictable, and are never the same. Last Mile Ride funds provide flexibility and an ability to think creatively when responding to individual situations.
The top fundraisers for the Friday events were Penny Maxfield (overall fundraiser), Rick Grant (top walk fundraiser), and Mark Elmore (top 5K fundraiser).
Top 5K runners were Lucy Rollins (overall female) and John Mattern (overall male). Total race results are listed at http://802timing.com/results/17results/17results.html
On Saturday morning the last of a heavy mist had just lifted from the Gifford parking lot as motorcycle riders, led by Orange County Sheriff Bill Bohnyak, rumbled through town to start the 75-mile ride. Safety along the route was ensured by volunteers from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, with the help of local police departments. An abundant BBQ lunch was waiting in Gifford Park when the riders returned several hours later.
Participants raise $105,000 to support end of life care
When all the donations were counted participants had raised $105,000 for services that bring end-of-life services to patients and their families.
Leading the top fundraisers announced on Saturday was Chip Milnor (who raised $7,600 in donations!), followed by Todd Winslow, Lynda McDermott, and Larry Richburg. Top fundraiser prizes were: two tickets to a Boston Red Sox game, two ISM Connect 300 NASCAR Cup Series tickets at the NH Motor Speedway, four Six Flags & The Great Escape day passes, and a Local Prize Package (two tickets to the New World Festival with a gift certificate to Saap Restaurant).
Last Mile Ride Raffle prize winners:
- Dr. Dennis Henzig won the Harley-Davidson motorcycle donated by Wilkins Harley-Davidson in South Barre
- Joan Granter won the quilt made by Gifford nursing staff
- Donald Vitali won the toolbox donated by Randolph Auto Supply
Each year generous local business support plays a huge role in the event’s success. Forty-four businesses sponsored this year’s Last Mile Ride, including major sponsors: The Frankenburg Agency, Northfield Savings Bank, Froggy 100.9, Neagley & Chase Construction Company, Lucky’s Trailer Sales, and Wilkins Harley-Davidson of South Barre.
Read More about Gifford’s Last Mile ride on Gifford’s website, www.lastmileride.com . The 2018 Last Mile Ride will be Friday August 17 and Saturday August 18—mark your calendars!