Rubber will once again hit the road for the Foothills Country Hospice’s rally.
The 2021 Rally 4 Hospice, taking place Aug. 28, will see participants take to the road for a trivia showdown beginning at high noon.
“Events like the Rally 4 Hospice are so instrumental in terms of us reaching our fundraising goal,” said the Hospice’s development and communications officer Stephanie Barnes.
That goal is to raise $200,000, a small portion of what’s needed to keep the compassionate care facility open.
“The reason we do this is because we have to raise just over $1.3 million every year to keep our doors open," she said.
That covers less than half of the facility’s $3 million budget, with around 57 per cent covered by Alberta Health Services.
The funding allows the hospice to provide end-of-life care and comfort in the Foothills.
That compassionate care has touched the lives of many, including rally participant Sue Archibald, whose husband Garth Pritchard passed away in 2020.
“We were there and I saw in that time how wonderful the place is,” Archibald said. “The people at that hospice, all of them, the professional staff, the volunteers, everyone involved was unbelievably compassionate.”
It wasn’t just the care for her husband that made a mark, as the facility also aims to comfort those close to their patients.
Archibald gave credit to the mark made by counselling provided by volunteers, even with pandemic restrictions in place.
“When you have people who are looking out for your loved one, but they’re also looking out for you too, what a place," she said.
“I looked at that and thought ‘I really want to support this place, such a fabulous facility.'”
Her late husband, a photojournalist, also shared a love for cars.
“He was always kind of a gearhead,” she said. “When he was quite young, he and a group of friends built race cars.”
Unable to have a funeral for her husband as the pandemic emerged, Archibald saw the 2020 rally as an opportunity to commemorate him.
“The pandemic shut everything down, and at the front desk I saw a flyer for the rally,” she said.
“The way they organized the rally last year, I was so tremendously impressed with that.”
As with many events, the rally shifted from a common gathering to a distanced event, with participants keeping to their car bubbles, allowing the race to go on.
In lieu of a funeral, Archibald hit the road with 11 cars, driven by friends and family.
“So what I did was go around to our closest friends and all together we had a little entourage party for the hospice,” she said.
“Because of the pandemic, they hadn’t been able to see one another.
“This is a circle of friends and relatives that have been together for aeons, and they hadn’t been able to see one another, so this was a bit of a reunion for them, and in a very safe way.”
She had high praise for the route as well.
“Whoever set that course, they were after the car buffs,” she extolled. “It was beautiful. Whoever designed the course and put together the clues, we had an absolute ball.”
Her own set of wheels for the rally is a Mini Cooper.
Through his work, Archibald said Pritchard covered the launch of the Mini Cooper in Canada, where he had fallen in love with the car on the spot.
Years later, but only months before he passed away, the couple would buy one.
“He just loved that little car,” Archibald said. “So the most logical thing in the world was to put that Mini in the rally.”
For this year, her entourage is up to ten drivers so far.
The event, which won’t be distanced like last year, is a great opportunity to come together for a great day, Barnes said.
“I think everyone’s really excited to have a reason to get together and see people they haven’t in a while,” she said.
“Events like these are incredibly important to just ensure we can keep our doors open.
“Without the support of our community, our donors, and our event participants, we wouldn’t be here, so we’re so grateful for all of our sponsors and everyone that has supported the event so far.”
Registrants in the 2021 Rally for Hospice put up $500 for a ticket, getting a driver and navigator a place in the event, which starts with cars pulling up at the hospice’s driveway north of Okotoks and setting off to tour the countryside. Extra passengers can purchase a ticket for $100 each.
Rather than a timed race, the rally will feature a series of checkpoints, participants find clues and trivia questions leading to the next.
Entry includes lunch along the way and general admission to an after party at the final stop, taking place 4 p.m. at the High River Sunset Drive-in, featuring live entertainment and a BBQ meal prepared by Lynnwood Ranch served at 5:30 p.m.
There will be opportunities to bid on a live auction, and there is also an online auction running Aug. 15 until 7 p.m. Aug. 29.
An additional $250 per person gains access to the VIP area, with heated seating areas, specialty appetizers and beverages, as well as a carved dinner and private bar.
For more information, visit www.countryhospice.org