Being in the hospital at Christmas time is tough, but Bethesda Foundation holds their annual Gifts of Light Campaign to bring the hospital some Christmas spirit.
They decorate the trees on their property with Christmas lights and have a beautiful lighting ceremony for everyone to enjoy.
Linda Peters from the Bethesda Foundation says it can be a much-needed joyful moment for patients experiencing difficult times.
“I think Christmas is an exciting time! And having the opportunity to set up all the lights at the hospital for people who might be struggling with all kinds of things during this season, when it's the last thing you want to be thinking about is spending time at the hospital, it is really special.”
People are able to sponsor trees for the campaign. Each year, Bethesda focuses on a different concept, and this year they are focusing on staff and healthcare workers.
Peters says they’ve decided to put emphasis on celebrating all of our healthcare workers since it’s been a rough stretch for them in the last few years.
“Whether it's kitchen staff or cleaning staff, doctors, nurses. They all take care of patients and their families during one of the most difficult times of our lives, and so we wanted to celebrate them in a big way.”
People can sponsor a tree in honor of someone that they know who works in health care specifically, or they can sponsor a tree with a message of thanks to healthcare workers in general.
Peters says she’s seen a lot of sponsors over the years, and that it’s always a special moment for them and their families.
"A lot of people sponsor in memory of a loved one who has passed, sometimes people will sponsor in their grandchildren’s names,” she says. “They'll list all their grandchildren’s names on the sign and then go with their grandkids to find the sign.”
She goes on to say that sponsors often take it as an opportunity to teach their families about the importance of healthcare and donating to the community.
“It's really meaningful at this time of year, to not only think about what we're going to get for ourselves, but also what we can do for others who might be in a more vulnerable position than we are.”
There is a wide range of sponsorship levels.
If you donate $120, you can sponsor one of the red trees that are put up along Main St. and Hwy. 12.
“Then at the hospital, surrounding the entire hospital grounds, as well as the Bethesda personal care home grounds, there we have four different levels of sponsorship.”
Those levels are $600, $1250, $1750 and $2500. Each level has different tree sizes and sizes of signs.
The tree lighting ceremony will be this Sunday, December 4th, from 4pm-6pm at the hospital.
There will be hot dogs, hot chocolate, fireworks and caroling.
with files from Michelle Sawatzky