On Sunday, December 4, families and friends gathered together on village greens in eleven communities across Northeast Connecticut for Day Kimball Healthcare’s 33rd annual Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony. This year’s beloved tree-lighting tradition has already raised more than $34,000 to support hospice and palliative care services in the region, with more 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. Trees at all eleven locations were decorated with colored lights, each of which is a symbol of love and hope, and represents an opportunity for family and friends to remember loved ones who have passed.
The purchase of these lights 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 family throughout end-of-life and bereavement care.
“It wouldn’t be the holiday season in Northeastern Connecticut without our treasured Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony,” said Renee Smith, Vice President, Post Acute Services, Day Kimball Healthcare. "For so many families in our community, the holidays symbolize a time of celebration, but for those who have lost a loved one, it is also a time of remembrance of the special people in our lives. It’s very moving to see people come together to share in this experience, and we’re so grateful for the support that this tradition has provided to our hospice and palliative care program over the years.”
Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony activities included holiday-themed music by local chorus groups as well as the sharing of personal stories about how hospice and palliative care has impacted the lives of those served, culminating with the lighting of the ceremonial Tree of Life.
“For 33 years, this heart-warming event has touched the lives of so many people in our community, becoming a tradition that allows families to honor and memorialize their loved ones,” said Kristen Willis, Director of Development for Day Kimball Healthcare. “The Hospice Tree of Life Ceremony also represents an opportunity for our organization to highlight the continuing need for access to quality hospice and palliative care in the region and raise much-needed funds for these programs. We are so grateful to have the community's support and generous contributions for these wonderful programs year after year.”
More information about the event can be found at daykimball.org/TreeOfLife.
PHOTO CAPTION: Stacy Barrette, Hospice RN at Day Kimball Healthcare At Home, and her family honored her grandmother Geraldine Murphy at Day Kimball Healthcare’s 33rd Annual Tree of Life Ceremony at Davis Park in Danielson, CT.