One sure thing about being a family caregiver is that you’ll become very familiar with the condition that the person in your care has. Over time you’ll get to know all the ins and outs and become somewhat of an expert.
Hearing their stories and seeing the similarities, and even the differences, creates a connection that lets you know you are not alone.
During your research you’ll often discover that along with caregiver advocacy groups there is a community of support either online or locally that you can turn to for advice, real-life experiences, and importantly, stories of hope.
Many of these communities host events, such as charity walks, throughout the year to raise awareness and funds. These events are important, not only to increase awareness and collect donations, but also to help progress research efforts with the ultimate goal of one day discovering a cure.
Charity event - Terry Fox Run
One more-prominent example of a charity event occurs every September with the annual Terry Fox Run.
Communities across Canada host local Terry Fox Runs to honour a man who dedicated the end of his short life to raising awareness and much-needed funds in the fight against cancer.
Terry started the Marathon of Hope after being diagnosed with bone cancer at 18 years old. After having his right leg amputated 15 cm above his knee he saw the extreme suffering of other patients facing cancer. This inspired him to set a goal for his marathon run across Canada to raise one dollar for every Canadian.
On February 1, 1981 his goal was reached, just four months before he died. Terry had raised $24.17 million through his Marathon of Hope.
This goal has since been surpassed, with over $650 million raised in Terry’s name worldwide to date. Although Terry was never able to complete his run across Canada, his legacy continues to this day.
Community support and events
For some family caregivers participating in events to raise awareness and funds is a way to show support for the person in their care. These events can give participants a sense of purpose and direction towards a common goal.
They also bring together a community of people who share similar experiences. It can also be a great way to see the support you have. It’s important to know that advocacy for family caregivers is there, especially when times are tough. It may also be an opportunity to provide support to others going through similar situations.
Charity walks, or similar events, can be attended by people living with the illness, their caregivers, extended friends and family, or people with no direct connection, but who just wish to show their support.
Participating in an event after the person in your care has passed is also one way to honour their memory, or a way to create a tradition. Read our Elizz article to find other unique ways to cope with grief.
Levels of participation
There are different levels of participation that caregivers can undertake.
Some caregivers may wish to actively participate by walking, running, or biking, while others make their contributions through donations, volunteering, or even by spreading the word. There’s no right or wrong way to show support for the cause that is closest to your heart, or to support the greater community of those you’ve cared for.
Meeting the people who participate, organize, or contribute to events in support of a cause can be inspirational. Hearing their stories and seeing the similarities, and even the differences, creates a connection that lets you know you are not alone.
Elizz is the place to go for all things caregiving and is powered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care. Along with providing support for those in your care, Elizz offers caregiver services and support for you as well.
If you have any questions or concerns you can call Elizz at 1-855-Ask-Eliz (275-3549) or connect with a Caregiver Coach online.