NORTH BAY -- A virtual fundraiser event that took place over the Thanksgiving weekend has raised $57,000 for the Nipissing Serenity Hospice.

When the hospice cancelled its annual Hike For Hospice event in May due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers decided to modify the event to avoid a large crowd and turned it into the Hike From Home For Hospice.

Participants were encouraged to register, raise funds and then celebrate their accomplishments with a hike, walk, run or bike around the block in their neighbourhood or on a trail in their community.

Due to the enthusiastic response, the hospice surpassed its goal of $50,000.

"We are currently right around $57,000 and we are still counting last-minute donations," said Gil Pharand, executive director of Nipissing Serenity Hospice. "Thanksgiving was a very fitting time for this, as we are so thankful for the generosity and support of our community and this region. We are only 60 per cent funded and the hike provides us with much-needed funds to assist us in offering excellence in residential hospice palliative care."

Twenty-two teams registered and participated, and were asked to share their hike on social media.

"We didn’t know what to expect with this virtual format," said Bernadette Lindsay, the hospice's fund development coordinator. "But, staying true to form, our supporters went out there and showed their passion for the hospice. We are so proud of everyone."

This year, the three teams that raised the most money were Mathilde’s Angels, Dixie’s Chicks and Norma’s Rockets.

The hospice said it is very thankful for all of its supporters, volunteers and sponsors.

For more information about Nipissing Serenity Hospice and to make a donation, visit its website.