By Happy Carlock

More than 350 members of the Lexington community decked themselves out in glow sticks on Sept. 21 for the 17th annual Hospice Hustle. The 5K race took place at Lexington Golf and Country Club, and proceeds benefitted the Rockbridge Area Hospice. Michelle Jones, a member of the Hospice Hustle Planning Committee, said that the event directly benefits Hospice patients.

Wally Hawkins ran the Hospice Hustle for his late wife, Lilly. Photo by Happy Carlock

“It’s an important event because all of the money we raise goes directly to patient care, and it all stays right here in Rockbridge County, which is really important,” she said. “We take care of our neighbors.”

Wally Hawkins and his family participated in the hustle in memory of his wife Lilly Hawkins, who died of cancer four years ago. The Hawkins family wore matching t-shirts with her picture and “Team Lilly” printed on them. They used Hospice for six months before Lilly passed away.

“We were so thankful to Hospice for all the services they provided that we feel like we owe them something back,” Wally said.

This was the first year that the hustle was a glow run. Hospice Hustle Co-Chair Meghan McCleery said they had double the amount of runners from last year, and she thinks the glow theme encouraged more participation.

“I think it added a real fun element for families,” McCleery said. “It added a great sense of camaraderie. Teams got together.”

The event raises awareness about Hospice and the services it provides for patients during the final days of their lives.

“Hospice is really about life,” she said. “A lot of people feel that it is about death, but it’s about those last days, months, those last times and giving them such a great quality of life and providing them and their family comfort and care through those hard times.”

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