Over the course of two weekends, Gifford’s 16th annual Last Mile event set a new fundraising and participation record for the medical center. A total of 519 people participated in the bike ride, walk, 5k and motorcycle ride. It has resulted in $165,000 going to Gifford’s palliative care program, assisting families whose loved ones are in life’s last mile.
“I am grateful for the participation and overwhelmed with the emotion I’ve witnessed over these last two weekends,” Gifford Vice President of Development and Public Relations, Ashley Lincoln said. “With this incredible outpouring of generosity, we can continue to support and say yes to our families when called upon.”
The Last Mile event kicked off Saturday, August 14th, with a bike ride through several towns in the community. Two members of Gifford’s family, who were advocates and participants of the Last Mile, Dr. Dennis Henzig and palliative care nurse, John Young were remembered with a moment of silence before the ride. Both men passed away over this last year.
A run and walk through Randolph took place Friday afternoon, with Becky Olmstead and Ben DeFlorio the 5K’s top finishers. For complete results through 802 Timing, click here.
The event concluded Saturday, August 20th with the 80-mile motorcycle ride Saturday morning, August 21st. The Combat Vets once again graciously volunteered their services to lead a safe ride through a number of cities and towns, including South Royalton, Woodstock, Killington and Bethel.
Following Saturday’s motorcycle ride, top fundraisers were recognized and awarded gifts.
“I got started in the Last Mile with a patient who was the wife of one of my customers,” top fundraiser and motorcycle rider, Chip Milnor said. “It just blows me away some of the things that Last Mile has done. It gives me the strength to just keep going and collecting.”
Sharon Sault, Dr. Lou DiNicola and Megan Cicio won the 50/50 raffle while Beryl McPhetres and Terri Hodgdon were also raffle winners, each taking home a quilt.
Guest speakers also addressed the crowd this weekend, sharing their connection with the event. Friday night, Bob Sparadeo reflected on the care his mom received. Saturday, Liz Longworth, a long-time motorcycle participant, shared her drive to run 16 hours this year in memory of her friend, Naomi Drown.
“As we reflect on this year’s event, I would like to thank our very generous business sponsors and the community, near and far, for the spirit and optimism felt on the Gifford green this weekend,” Lincoln said.