The Beth Donovan Hospice will be offering a bereavement walking group next month, set to run for eight weeks for anyone seeking support after a loss. Run by volunteers, the walking group will be part of the Hospice’s growing support network, which aims to facilitate connection, a sense of community, and health benefits in the form of fresh air and light exercise.

Volunteer, Joan Brown, will be the leader of the new walking group. She began volunteering at the Hospice five years ago as a way to give back, since the Hospice was a great support to her and her husband, Trevor, when he was attending the Day Hospice Program. As her husband’s illness progressed, they were able to access other valuable services, including in-home visiting and counselling. After Joan lost Trevor, her experiences with grief left an impression on her, and helped her understand what others may need when going through the same thing. She didn’t have a lot of energy after her husband’s passing, but still wanted to be able to get out of the house and be with people who would understand what she was going through. “I needed someone who understood that I couldn’t just get over it,” Joan said.

Joan is emphasizing, for anyone who may be interested in signing up for the walking group, that it will not be a “speed walking” group. The focus will be on social connection and fresh air. “If you are recently bereaved and looking for a reason to get out of the house, join our weekly walking group, where we will casually stroll through the Ferguson Forest Centre,” she said. “Don’t feel like talking? Okay. Need to cry? That’s fine. Need to talk? Feel free. You set the tone. You set the pace.”

The bereavement walking group will run for eight weeks, beginning on May 30. The group will meet at 1 pm at the Ferguson Forest Centre. Those seeking more information, or looking to register for the group, can get in touch by email at counselling@bethdonovanhospice.ca.

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