Day Kimball Healthcare

Light the Light of Love: Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut to Celebrate 20th Annual Tree of Life Ceremonies

November 10, 2009

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

Crowd gathers around the Putnam Tree of Life at the town’s ceremony in 2008. Ceremonies take place at eight locations around northeastern Connecticut.

PUTNAM, CT – Hospice & Palliative Care of Northeastern Connecticut will celebrate its 20th annual “Tree of Life” ceremonies on Sunday, December 13, 2009. Ceremonies occur simultaneously in eight towns and 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 p.m. and trees will be lit at 5:15 p.m.

The eight locations with musical performances are: Brooklyn at Creamery Brook Retirement Village with the Brooklyn Middle School chorus, Canterbury at the Canterbury Municipal Building with the Canterbury Middle School chorus; Danielson at Davis Park with J.I.V.E. from Killingly High School; Moosup/Plainfield at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with Plainfield High School music; Pomfret at the junctions of Routes 44 and 169 with music to be announced; Putnam at St. Mary Church with the Putnam Elementary School chorus; Thompson at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church with Mary R. Fisher’s Elementary School Fortezza and Ted Reynolds; and Woodstock at Roseland Cottage with the Woodstock Academy Hill singers. The public is invited to attend any of these inspiring ceremonies.

“Everyone has a personal reason for attending a Tree of Life ceremony,” said Tori Bates, Day Kimball Healthcare interim director of development. “Coming together every year to honor and remember our loved ones makes this evening meaningful to each of us.”

2009 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 and Canterbury 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 of Love” to decorate the trees in the eight 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, 2009 will be acknowledged in the Tree of Life Program; however, gifts are accepted throughout the year for the Tree of Life program.