Race raises awareness and funds for hospice


By Sue Cody


Race to the Bar 3When Katie Bulletset’s mother had terminal cancer spreading from her lungs to her brain, the family wanted to cling to her life. But eventually, they realized there was no reversal. Her mother was suffering, and Katie called Greg Peterson and Jeanette Schacher for advice. Greg, a friend, was on the Lower Columbia Hospice Advisory Board and Jeanette was a hospice employee. Lower Columbia Hospice is a department of Columbia Memorial Hospital.


According to Katie, had she known what hospice could do for the family, she might have called in Hospice a month or so earlier. Hospice guided the family through the end stages of Doris’ life, and ensured that she had the comfort care she needed. That was in 2013.


When the Race to the Bar, a fundraiser for Lower Columbia Hospice, was announced that year, Katie and her family supported a team. The race is a 10K run and 5K run/walk along the beach at Fort Stevens State Park.


Race to the Bar 2Because Doris and her brother-in-law both recently lost their battles with cancer, the team name included the first and middle initials of both relatives. Thus the team, DM2 (DM-squared), was born in honor of Dwight M. and Doris M. Family and friends have participated in the Race to the Bar every year since its inception in 2013.


This year, relatives traveled from Eureka and Los Angeles, CA., to participate.


Katie says her father’s knees are bone on bone, but Bob Bulletset still walks the 5K race at age 87. It is a testament to his support of Lower Columbia Hospice. DM2 walks the entire race together and crosses the finish line arm in arm.


The race begins and ends at the Peter Iredale shipwreck, where participants are greeted with water, fruit, snacks, sandwiches and a beer garden, all donated by local businesses.


Race to the Bar 1Spreading awareness


The Race to the Bar is a fundraiser for Lower Columbia Hospice, but it began as an instrument to spread awareness about hospice, says Schacher, Lower Columbia Hospice manager. Hospice serves the needs of patients who are no longer seeking curative treatment and offers end-of life-care.


In the first year, a consultant told the advisory board a race would never raise any money, says Linda Jones, race director and chairwoman of the Lower Columbia Hospice Advisory Council. It wouldn’t work, he said. Now the race is so popular, it is a favorite that some people look forward to all year. Last year the race raised $20,000. This year, there were 277 participants at the Sept. 10 event.


Linda says she is thrilled to see the word spreading; she sees T-shirts and hats all around the county. The Way to Wellville and its sponsor, Columbia Pacific CCO, encourage healthy activities such as running and walking, along with access to health care.


Race to the Bar 6Linda says sponsorships bring in most of the money. Businesses, doctors and families provide sponsorships from $100 to $1,000. Sponsorships alone raised $20,000 this year, which is not counting the individual registrations. With a sponsorship a business may have employees walk for free. The 29 gold and silver sponsors are listed on the back of the 2016 Race to the Bar T-shirt and many more sponsors support this fundraiser. If you are interested in volunteering to help organize next year’s Race to the Bar, contact Jeanette Schacher at 503-325-4321. If you would like to raise a team for next year, registration will be available in January at www.racetothebar.com.


The Race to the Bar culminates at sunset with a bonfire.


Many walk or run in memory of a loved one. “It’s a lovely thing to do,” Jones says.