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Annual Garden Walk to benefit Joliet Area Community Hospice

Betsy Sullivan knows how important it is to support the Joliet Area Community Hospice’s pediatric program. So, when an opportunity arose 11 years ago to start an annual community event raising funds to benefit the organization that provided assistance to her grandson, Sullivan said she knew she needed to take action.

“It’s been rewarding to see it,” she said of the event. “We never dreamed it would be going on 11 years later.”

Joliet Area Community Hospice invites the community June 24 to participate in this year’s Garden Walk.

It provides an opportunity for people to go on self-guided tours of several gardens located in Shorewood, Joliet, New Lenox, Plainfield and Channahon.

“It has been a wonderful event, and we are so lucky for the people who open up their beautiful gardens to our guests,” said Laureen Crotteau, event and media specialist for Joliet Area Community Hospice. “The gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They can get advice from the gardeners, too.”

Crotteau said people tend to like what the event offers.

“They enjoy seeing new things and getting new ideas,” she said.

From flowers and garden art to ponds and butterfly gardens, guests acquire ideas to try in their yards—whether shady or sunny, small or large space, flat or hilly.

“Our gardens offer something for everyone,” Crotteau promised.

About 300 guests are anticipated to participate in the 11th annual event.

Typically, the Garden Walk raises between $12,000 and $14,000.

“The proceeds benefit our pediatric program,” Crotteau said. “JACH is one of very few hospices in our area that offer a pediatric hospice and palliative care program. We do not turn anyone away regardless of economic status, so the money raised helps the families who have children in our care.”

Sullivan recognizes the benefits of having an organization, like Joliet Area Community Hospice in the community.

“[Timmy] went into hospice until he passed away,” Sullivan said of her grandson. “He was born with a severe disability. We tried to do as many normal activities with him. He was wheelchair-bound, and he couldn’t move his legs or arms. He had Cerebral Palsy.”

Timmy saw a pediatric nurse twice a week until he died in 2012.

Sullivan said Joliet Area Community Hospice has done a lot for her family.

Prior to the event’s initial launch, the Sullivans participated in several Garden Walks over the years.

“We thought wouldn’t this be a nice way to support Joliet Area Community Hospice,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan and her husband continue to run a garden for others in the community to view during the event.

Sullivan said people often come up to she and her husband telling them they’re appreciative of them for spreading the word about Joliet Area Community Hospice.

“A lot of people think that’s for older adults,” she said of hospice care.

The event’s popularity is clear, Sullivan said.

“Over the years, some have asked to be in [the Garden Walk] a second and third time,” she said. “We try to look for new gardens.”

Tickets will cost $15 each, and they can be purchased by going to the Joliet Area Community Hospice office at 250 Water Stone Circle, Joliet, starting at one of the gardens that day to acquire a ticket or visiting

“The gardens at JACH will be part of the tour, and [it serves as] a nice place to start,” Crotteau said.

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