The Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.s) understands the impact a quality hospice program has on a community. Jamestown Regional Medical Center's Hospice program has made such an impact on the members of their group that they host the Polar Pig "Walk the Plank" fundraiser each year.

Proceeds help provide hospice care services, including chaplaincy, grief support, medical supplies and equipment, telecare and comfort items. This year's event also benefits the JRMC Cancer Center.

"Hospice is so important and makes a difference for patients and their families," said Marla Wegner. Wegner and her husband, Don, started the event with the motorcycle group in 2007. In 15 years, they've raised more than $230,000.

"I just didn't know if we'd be able to do anything this year," Marla said.

After a few planning meetings, the H.O.G.s decided they couldn't cancel this year's event, especially when patients and staff needed care the most. However, to accommodate pandemic precautions, an online auction is sponsored by Orr Auctioneers and "walk the plank" is now an ice bucket challenge.

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The Polar Pig "Ice Bucket Challenge" is set for noon Saturday, Jan. 30, with a chili feed beginning at 10:30 a.m. at Stutsman Harley-Davidson. The online auction starts Monday, Jan. 25, and ends at 2 p.m. on the event day. People can support the cause by bidding or donating auction items, making donations or sharing a photo on Facebook for the challenge.

JRMC Hospice care has continued during the pandemic.

"We've supported patients, family and long-term care facilities during visitor restrictions. It is hard when family and friends can't be close," said Shar Trevithick, JRMC Home Health & Hospice manager. "However, as always, when a patient needs us, we can be by their side in 30 minutes."

JRMC Hospice, which has existed for 25 years, encourages individuals with a terminal diagnosis to enroll when they become eligible.

"Hospice best serves individuals when we are involved soon after stopping curative treatment. If you are in this situation, we can answer questions about the changes occurring for the individual and the family," Trevithick said.

The JRMC team focuses on comfort by controlling pain and other systems so the patient can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. Hospice also has a social work team that helps the patient and family understand and cope. The chaplain provides additional spiritual support and grief counseling.

Care is available in the patient's home, whether that is a home address, nursing home, assisted living community, independent living community or other location. A referral is not required; patients and families can choose JRMC Hospice.

For questions on the Polar Pig Ice Bucket Challenge, contact Don Wegner at (701) 269-7047 or Stutsman-Harley Davidson at (701) 252-5271. To support JRMC, visit www.jrmcnd.com/giving.