Early Sunday evening, thousands of twinkling Christmas lights will illuminate the Bethesda Hospital grounds.
Linda Peters is the Executive Director of the Bethesda Foundation. She notes their annual Gifts of Light campaign was incredibly well received this year and the tree lighting ceremony is coming up this Sunday from 4 to 6 PM.
“Everybody is welcome to join us at the hospital. There will be horse-drawn wagon rides, hot dogs, hot chocolate, glow sticks, and jingle bell bracelets for the kiddos. Santa's going to stop by, there will be some Christmas caroling and then of course the tree lighting and some fireworks to end the night and everything is free.”
The healing garden on the southeast corner of the hospital grounds will serve as the hub of Sunday’s celebrations. Peters notes Gifts of Light really lives up to its name.
“We've heard it makes a huge difference to people emotionally. For the staff that work at Bethesda, they go to work in the dark, and they come home in the dark, so the lights give them a little boost in their day. Patients at the hospital find a little cheer during a tough time in their lives, and we hear all the time from people who just drive by either the hospital and the lights or the signs on Highway 12 and Main, and how it just makes them happy."
Gifts of Light is also an important annual fundraiser for the Bethesda Foundation. Once again, Peters says the community responded fabulously this year with plenty of support rolling in from all over the region.
“The funds we raise will go towards purchasing equipment or furniture for the hospital over the next year or towards the new and expanded surgery department that is currently under construction at the hospital. We're always working on the next project.”
If you are still interested in sponsoring a tree, you can do so after Sunday, but Peters says you should reach out as soon as possible so that there is enough time to get your sign made before Christmas comes.
Photos from last year's Gifts of Light tree lighting can be seen below.
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