By Richard Southard Contributing Writer

Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice will be holding their annual Hospice 5K and Remembrance Walk on May 5. The event is fundraising to support low-cost hospice care for people of all ages in Maine communities, and will be one of two annual events put on by the organization.

  Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice is a non-profit organization that has been putting on this event for several years, and has been raising funds for over fifty years. The last hospice 5K helped to raise more than $1.3 million dollars in free patient care.

   Katie Kassidy, a member of the planning board for the event, is trying to set an even higher mark for this years race. “We need help to make that number even larger this year,” Kassidy said in an email interview, “so that all patients are cared for, including end-of-life care at the Hospice house.” Currently, the event has raised more than thirty-five thousand dollars.

   To Kassidy, the 5K is a significant service to the community. “The importance of Hospice Care in our community is huge,” Kassidy said. “Caring for the patient and families during the final months of life can make the experience more pleasant in whatever area you may need support.” For terminally or chronically ill patients, hospice care helps provide pain and symptom management, medical care, counseling for patients and families, and more.

   While hospice care can be expensive, the event is aimed at helping mitigate those costs for future patients. “The event helps to provide top of the line care at minimal to no costs for families who need it,” Kassidy said.

   For teams that register, each fundraising milestone gives an example for the care they are providing. For example, if someone raised $250 dollars, that money will provide supportive patient therapy, and raising $1000 provides a full day of care for an uninsured patient.

   Kassidy has experienced hospice care first hand and is devoted to helping the cause. “Personally, the Hospice House provided end of life care for my great-grandfather and most recently, my nana,” Kassidy said. “Not only did she receive the best care my entire family could imagine, they cared for all of us as though we were patients as well, whether we needed an extra blanket to sleep on the couch or warm hugs.”

   The event this year will be taking place at the district court parking lot. Registration will open at 7:30 a.m., and the race will begin at 9 a.m.