Day Kimball Healthcare’s (DKH) 32nd annual Tree of Life Ceremony, held Sunday, December 5 at 11 locations across northeast Connecticut, has raised more than $35,000 to support hospice and palliative care services in the region according to the Day Kimball Healthcare Foundation Office, with some donations still coming in.
With the help of local clergy, civic organizations, community members, and Hospice staff and volunteers, ceremonies were held in the towns of Brooklyn, Canterbury, Danielson, Eastford, Griswold, Plainfield, Pomfret, Putnam, Sterling, Thompson and Woodstock. All locations had a tree decorated with colored lights, each bulb representing donations collected in memory of loved ones or honoring caregivers throughout the community. Activities at each location included holiday-themed musical entertainment by local chorus groups and the sharing of personal stories about the impact of hospice and palliative care on the lives of those served, culminating with the lighting of the ceremonial Tree of Life in a single glowing moment.
“The Tree of Life is such a special tradition for so many families in Northeast Connecticut and one of the most significant fundraising opportunities to support hospice and palliative care services in our region,” said Kristen Willis, director of development, Day Kimball Healthcare. “Most importantly, it’s an opportunity and deeply personal way to celebrate a loved one, honor a caregiver, and pay tribute to so many remarkable individuals who have forever left their mark on our community and in our hearts.”
The purchase of memorial lights on each community’s Tree of Life benefits the work done by Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut, a service division of Day Kimball Healthcare at Home, to enhance the lives of seriously and terminally ill patients and their families. Skilled and experienced professionals and trained volunteers provide care through an individualized plan that meets the physical, psychosocial, spiritual, and emotional needs of each patient and their families throughout end-of-life and bereavement care.
“Once again, our Northeast Connecticut community has risen to the occasion by coming together to aid and support some of its most vulnerable members,” said Kyle Kramer, chief executive officer, Day Kimball Healthcare. “The success of our Tree of Life Ceremony helps DKH provide comfort and dignity to members of our community during end-of-life care. We are so grateful to everyone who made this event a success and for our community’s ongoing support of our organization.”
Roger Franklin, this year’s Tree of Life Chairperson and hospice volunteer, has been involved with the hospice program for more than eighteen years after his wife, Ruth, was admitted to the hospice program in February 2003.
“Since the beginning of my hospice journey, I have observed first-hand the most compassionate and caring team of Hospice nurses and aides whose amazing skills and professionalism allowed my wife’s final days to be experienced pain-free and with a special kind of dignity,” said Franklin. “For that reason, I am extremely honored to serve as the Chair of the 2021 Tree of Life campaign and to spread the message of hope and healing through this important community event in support of the hospice program.”
The funds raised through this event are used to support hospice and palliative patient care and services provided to the community not covered by insurance. More information about the event can be found here.
PHOTO CAPTION: Erica Alexander RN, BSN, CHPN, Hospice & Palliative Care Program Manager at Day Kimball Healthcare At Home and her family partake in Day Kimball Healthcare’s 32nd Annual Tree of Life Ceremony at the Eastford Congregational Church.