CLEARWATER, Fla. — It’s much more than just a walk along the beach, this Saturday thousands of people will be sticking their feet in the sand for a cause dear to their hearts.
Brandy Penta and her late husband Brian started participating in the Suncoast Hospice Beach Stroll in Clearwater back in 2010. It was in honor of Brandy’s grandmother, who died while in hospice care.
“What they do for families and what people go through I think it’s important to give back,” said Penta.
The three-mile walk was something the Pasco County couple looked forward to every year, but the last few strolls Brian was unable to attend.
“So Brian was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer at 46 years old,” said Brandy.
After a three-and-half-year battle, Brian and Brandy were now calling on the non-profit organization they loved so much to be there for their family one more time.
“He did not want a hospital setting he wanted somebody in home that could care for him and he knew that what hospice provided was what he wanted,” said Penta.
Saturday will be Brandy’s first Beach Stroll without her husband, who died in August 2020. However, she will be carrying his favorite piece of clothing, which just happens to be the official Beach Stroll T-shirt from 2013.
“It's a comfort thing, it’s like a blanket for a little kid. I sleep with it every night. It’s in my room and it's a memory of him that I’ll never forget,” said Penta.
This year marks the 20th Suncoast Hospice Beach Stroll, which starts at 8 a.m. at the Palm Pavilion on Clearwater Beach. They are hoping to raise $50,000 in donations.
“Its comfort, it’s comradery, it’s knowing other people have been through the same things that you have,” said Kathy Rabon with Empath Health. “It’s about the care and compassion of others at the time that they need it the most.”
Penta said Brian may not be walking alongside her, but she knows he’ll be looking down from above.
“He would just say, ‘this is you, this is what you were meant to do, and I’m proud of you for keeping it up and thank you for taking the time and doing it in memory of me this time,’” said Penta.
For more information on the event click here.