Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut Annual Tree of Life Ceremonies Expand Locations

All Proceeds Remain Local to Help Those in Need of Additional Care

PUTNAM, Conn. – Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut will celebrate its annual “Tree of Life” ceremonies on Sunday, December 12, 2010. Ceremonies have been expanded to ten towns and occur simultaneously; each include the lighting of a holiday tree, a prayer lead by a local prayer leader, reflection, caroling and a post-ceremony reception with refreshments. Ceremonies begin at 5:00 p.m. and trees will be lit at 5:15 p.m.

The ten locations with musical performances are: Brooklyn at Creamery Brook Retirement Village with the Brooklyn Middle School chorus, Canterbury at the Canterbury Fire Department with the Canterbury Middle School chorus; Danielson at Davis Park with J.I.V.E. from Killingly High School; newly added Griswold at the Day Kimball HomeCare Patient Services Office with the Griswold Senior Chorus; Moosup/Plainfield at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with Plainfield High School Chorus; Pomfret at the junctions of Routes 44 and 169 with Maria Sangiola, vocalist; Putnam at St. Mary Church with the Putnam Elementary School chorus; newly added Sterling at the Sterling Town Hall with Sterling Community School chorus; Thompson at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church with Carol Rossetti, M. Fisher Elementary School Fortezza Favorites, Tedd Reynolds and Karen Carter; and Woodstock at Roseland Cottage with the Woodstock Academy Hill singers. The public is invited to attend any of these inspiring ceremonies.

“It is such an honor to be a part of this tradition each year,” said Pat Hedenberg, Day Kimball Healthcare event manager. “Tree of Life is such a special experience for everyone who participates and really brings all of our towns together by lighting the trees at the same time throughout Northeast Connecticut.”

2010 Tree of Life chairperson, Shirley Houle of North Grosvenordale, lost her son Shawn to colon cancer on September 3, 2001. For the last year of his life, Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut played a significant role in Shawn’s care. “I owe Hospice everything for making my son’s last days as comfortable as possible,” said Houle. “We found the nurses and Hospice staff very caring and sensitive not only to Shawn’s needs but to the family’s needs as well.”

The first Tree of Life ceremony was held in December of 1989 raising $6,500, beginning with Danielson, Putnam and Plainfield. Throughout the years, the towns of Woodstock, Thompson, Pomfret, and Brooklyn, Canterbury, Sterling and Griswold were added. In the past five years alone, the Tree of Life ceremonies have raised more than $140,000. All proceeds from this event remain local and help to fund alternative therapies, social work, medical supplies not covered by insurance and also to help support the bereavement program. Additional items may be provided to make the patient’s end-of-life care more comfortable.

Purchasing lights to decorate the trees in the ten towns is a wonderful way to remember someone you love and helps Hospice bring their services to terminally ill patients and their families in Northeast Connecticut. To sponsor a loved one through the Tree of Life Program, call Day Kimball Healthcare’s Development office at (860) 928-7141. A white light donation is $5; orange light is $10; green light is $20; blue light is $50; and the red light is $100 or more. Checks may be made payable to “Hospice” and mailed to: Tree of Life, P.O. Box 632, Putnam, CT 06260.

Gifts received prior to December 7, 2010 will be acknowledged in the Tree of Life Program; however, gifts are accepted throughout the year for the Tree of Life program.