Brighten up a life
Tree of Light ceremony in Ilwaco honors family, friends, loved ones and caregivers

An ornament available for a donation at the Tree of Light ceremony.

Everyone is busy this time of year, and it’s easy to overlook the special people who give so much of their time caring for others.

The Tree of Light Ceremony at Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash., is a way to honor them.

Once again the Ocean Beach Hospital Foundation invites the public to the lighting of the Giving Tree at 9:15 a.m. Friday, Dec. 7, in the lobby of Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash. The program will start with a welcome by Kacia Lessnau, the foundation president.

At 9:30 a.m. the Ilwaco High School choir, directed by Rachel Lake, will add their voices to the tree-lighting ceremony.

For a donation, people receive an ornament to hang on the tree. Attached to each ornament is a tag on which people can write something as a tribute to someone special who is, or has been, a light in their lives. While you’re at the ceremony, feel free to enjoy the ornaments and read the messages others have written.

Several items will be available for silent auction as well.

This year’s tree lighting raises funds for Project: Lifesaver for the purchase of an updated CT scanner. These scanners are considered antiquated by the time they’re 5 years old; the hospital’s current scanner is 12. All donations for the project are being matched 1:1 by the hospital.

The CT scanner “gives more significance to the fundraiser,” said Joan Porter, the foundation vice-president.

Consider the story of a local woman, Peninsula resident Lynn Dickerson, who credits a CT scan, done in June of this year, for saving her life.

The scan detected early signs of lung cancer. On July 30, Dickerson had surgery to remove the lower lobe of her left lung. She is now going through chemo and radiation treatments. Dickerson showed no symptoms of cancer at the time of her scan; it was a preventive test she elected to have done because of her history of smoking. Thanks to early detection by the CT scan, she is on track to recovery.

“There should be a push for people to get scanned,” Dickerson said. “Clinics need to push scans.”

What holiday is complete without food and beverages? The hospital kitchen will have coffee, tea, cocoa and small breakfast pastry items — mini-cinnamon rolls or donuts.

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