Walking to Improve Health Care

August 23, 2011

On Mercy Day 2011, Mercy co-workers are encouraged to move miles; 13.1 to be exact.

The early Sisters of Mercy were known as the “Walking Nuns” because they ventured into the communities to heal the underserved. Today the methods of delivering health care are very different, but at Mercy, the mission has remained the same for nearly two centuries.

Every September 24, the Sisters of Mercy Health System recognizes the heritage and history of the founding Sisters. Across Mercy’s four-state service area, Mercy Day honors the servitude and compassionate care of the Sisters who set the Mercy health care ministry in motion.

This year marks the 125th year of Mercy’s presence in the Fort Scott community and a celebration is planned to reach far beyond the hospital walls; 13.1 miles beyond to be exact.

The Mercy Day Run 2011, a non-certified half-marathon course, is an opportunity for community members and Mercy co-workers to put their bodies in motion and make a difference for family and friends suffering from cancer. By participating in this journey, runners, walkers and sponsors alike will support the relocation and expansion of the Mercy Cancer Care Unit of Hope.

“For many novice runners, the idea of tackling a half-marathon solo can be threatening,” said Tina Rockhold, Mercy Marketing and Development director. “But don’t be intimidated; the Sisters are known for their compassion. So, the race has been designed with two divisions: the solo runner or the team relay.”

“The idea behind the team relay is derived from the T.E.A.M. concept – Together Everyone Achieves More,” Rockhold added. Together we can achieve the goal to offer the finest care for those in our community who need cancer treatments.”

“Be part of something bigger than yourself…join the Mercy movement,” encouraged Rockhold.

“If someone wants to be part of something big but may not be able to accomplish it alone, gather a team of 12 others and complete the trek together,” she continued. “Besides, research shows that those who train together stick with it longer, achieve better results, and have a lot more fun doing so.”

About one year ago, the Mercy Health Center Foundation Board launched a $250,000 fundraising campaign to relocate and expand the current cancer care unit. To date, $217,000 has been raised through pledges and contributions.

The Mercy Day Run 2011 will depart from the Mercy Health Center east parking lot on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 a.m. The route will follow Horton south, over Indian Rd. and continue on pavement to the intersection of Hwy 39. The route will turn north and follow the same route past the hospital on Horton and continue north to 8th Street, then turn south again on Horton and end at the hospital.

The fee for individual runners is $30 and includes a t-shirt and individual medal for each participant. The fee for relay team members is $20 per team member and includes a t-shirt for each team members and team trophies for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams. Relay teams may have a maximum of 13 runners per team.

Pre-registration is recommended. After Sept. 10, the registration fee is $5 more per participant. Race day registration will be available from 6-6:45 a.m.

Participants may pre-register online at www.active.com by searching “Mercy Day Run” in the keywords box. Registration forms are also available at Mercy Health for Life at 405 Woodland Hills Blvd. Each entrant must complete and sign a separate event waiver the day of the event.

Catherine McAuley, Foundress of the Sisters of Mercy, modeled a generous philanthropic spirit throughout her ministry. She devoted her life and her sizeable inheritance to build a house of shelter for girls and women in need. The House of Mercy opened on Baggott Street in Dublin, Ireland on September 24, 1827. Hundreds of unemployed girls received religious instruction, learned vocational skills and received shelter.

Catherine McAuley took her hospitality into the homes of the sick and abandoned, she rescued a child left in an alley doorstep to die by parents dying of influenza; she brought home an old, homeless woman and cared for her personally for many years.

Before her death in 1841, she had founded 12 convents of Mercy in Ireland and England. Unable to be present in so many places, she became a prolific letter writer to support and encourage the sisters. McAuley had found yet another way to extend her hospitality.

The Sisters of Mercy take four vows of obedience, chastity, poverty, and service. It is this fourth added vow that has set them apart in their commitment to be among the people and to serve them where they are in their need.

For more information about Mercy Day or the Mercy Day Run 2011, contact the Mercy Development Office at 620-223-8094.

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