Hannah Rafuse of Williston shows off her purple accessories. (Photo courtesy of Daria Bishop)

Runners, walkers, bikers, joggers and corporate sponsors all helped raise $40,000 to benefit Vermont’s only hospice home at this year’s McClure Miller VNA Respite House 5K Fun Run and Jiggity Jog.

Over 30 volunteers ensured the event on Saturday, May 13 ran smoothly and participants were safe on the course. Colchester Parks and Recreation, Colchester Police and Malletts Bay School assisted with planning and welcomed the event to town for its inaugural year in the new location.

Alice Christian of Colchester was the top individual fundraiser with a grand total of $2,295. Team Irwin took home the award for top team fundraiser with a total of $6,240. Jamie Shearer of Essex won the race for the second year in a row, finishing first overall with a time of 19:46. Sara Roberts of Burlington was the first female runner to cross the finish line with a time of 21:21.

Long-time volunteers Denny Johnson and his crew set-up the course, and Matt Chandler provided expert timekeeping services while DJ McEnroe from Top Hat Entertainment played emcee and pumped up the crowd with a variety of tunes.

Colchester resident Heather Rylant participated in the McClure Miller VNA Respite House 5K Fun Run and Jiggity Jog at the Malletts Bay School in Colchester on Saturday, May 13. (Photo courtesy of Daria Bishop)

“Each May we come together to honor the residents, caregivers and families who have called Respite House home,” administrator Sharon Keegan said, noting the organization’s new facility helps serve even more Vermonters.

“This event is such a beautiful way to celebrate the lives of lost loved ones,” she continued. “We are so thankful to our community for their incredible support of our hospice program.”

Every dollar raised allows the Respite House to provide compassionate hospice care to those who can’t pay the full room and board fee. Through the generosity of our community, no one facing a terminal illness is ever turned away due to lack of ability to pay.

For 26 years, VNA Respite House has been the first and only Medicare-certified inpatient hospice residence in Vermont. Approximately 40 percent of the Respite House operating budget comes from community support, including the money raised at this event.

To make a donation and to see full race results, please visit vnacares.org/run or call 860-4435. For more information, please call the VNA at 658-1900 or visit www.vnacares.org.

Kellie Parks is the communications director of the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties.