Hope shines brightly at Sundre hospital

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Annual tree lighting fundraiser honours loved ones

Sundre residents are encouraged to help make the fifth annual Tree of Hope shine as much as possible.

Any amount donated results in one of two colours of bulb being lit, said Jo-Anne McDonald, an organizer of the event, which is put on by the Sundre Palliative Care Association.

“Blue bulbs are lit in memory of loved ones who have passed on, while red bulbs send a message of hope to those who need support,” she told the Round Up.

“The Tree of Hope is a bright spot of inspiration, hope and honouring memories.”

Pledge forms are available at local businesses and can be dropped off at the hospital’s front desk during regular hours. The association uses the money raised to provide quality and compassionate end-of-life care in the community, she said.

“Last year, one of our goals was to raise money to refurbish the palliative care patient room. This year, we have followed through and have worked on the planning for cabinetry, furniture, labour expenses as well as other features for the room.”

The association is also involved with the future planning for a specific palliative care patient suite at the Mountain View Seniors’ Housing campus of care, she said.

“Our group supports volunteers, nurses and physicians by offering to pay for courses relating to palliative care,” she added.

Also, the association makes available information booklets about palliative care as well as grieving, which can be found free of charge at the library and the hospital family room. Another project the group is involved with includes purchasing plants as well as maintaining the flower garden at the hospital, which creates “a special place for patients and families,” she said.

The tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 2 starting at 5:30 p.m. at the community garden located in the northwest corner of the hospital grounds. Last year, about $2,600 was raised, which was down from the year before when almost $5,000 had been collected, she said, adding organizers hope to at least match or exceed last year’s total.

But the Tree of Hope is not the only fundraiser the association is involved with. The group also sponsors the annual Community Candlelight Service of Remembrance. The event, which is lined up for Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Sundre Lutheran Church starting at 3 p.m., provides an opportunity for people to get together to reminisce about loved ones who have died, she said.

“Everyone can be affected by a life-shortening illness at one point or another. The Sundre Palliative Care Association will be here to lend a hand to hold, an ear to hear, a shoulder to cry on, and a heart to grieve with.”

“The Tree of Hope is a bright spot of inspiration, hope and honouring memories.” Jo-Anne McDonald

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The Sundre Round Up has been the source for news and community information in Sundre and area since 1960.