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Trees of Light at Winona Health (12/09/2012)
By Emily Buss

Photo by Emily Buss
     Pictured is the name of those whom donors lovingly remember during the holiday season adorn three large evergreen trees in the Winona Health Clinic lobby. A yearly Winona Foundation fundraiser, Trees of Light funds are used to support the healing atmosphere at the clinic.

The holiday season at Winona Health seems to get bigger and brighter with each passing year. The 25th annual Trees of Light campaign has become so large, there is not one, but three trees this year to accommodate each green, silver, red, or purple ornament that will display the names of those remembered.

The Winona Health Foundation fundraiser is an opportunity for area residents to remember those near and dear each holiday season by purchasing a festive ornament. Each ornament will be hung on one of three large evergreen trees beautifully displayed in the entrance of the clinic.

"This is an opportunity and really the perfect time of year for those who donate to remember those folks that were so close to us," said Betsy Midthun, Chief Marketing and Foundation Officer. "I know that many years we spend time trying to find the perfect gift. But, in a lot of ways, this is the perfect gift because it's a gift that keeps on giving."

When ornaments are purchased in honor of a loved one, the donor is allowed to choose where the money will be used. Whether it is given to cardiac or cancer research, the dermatology department, or the family birth center, donations can be made to any department , or to the Winona Health general fund.

"Purchasing an ornament gives back to an establishment whose goal is to help and serve others," Midthun said. "It's the perfect situation."

In the first week of the campaign, Midthun said three generous donors came forward to donate decorative tree toppers, which requires a donation of $1,000 or more.

"The best one came from a woman who began crying as she gave her gift," Midthun said. "She said there was someone very special to her that she wanted to honor. If tree toppers keep coming this fast, I'm going to have to get more trees. That's a good problem to have."

Last year, more than 1,400 were honored or memorialized, and Midthun said she hopes to exceed that.

The display is being moved inside this year, and has become a holiday focal point in the clinic that attracts hospital employees, patients, and visitors from all over. As the season continues, more ornaments will fill the trees, giving thanks to and honoring those who are still living or have passed away.

A celebration of all those honored on the Trees of Light will be held Thursday, December 27, at 4:30 p.m. in the Winona Health Clinic lobby. Attendees may enjoy refreshments and live entertainment.

Ornaments are $10, with all proceeds benefiting Winona Health. Donors are also able to take their ornament home after the Tree of Lights celebration. Ornaments can be purchased by calling the Winona Health Auxiliary Foundation at 457-4316, visiting the Winona Health Clinic, or online at the Winona Health website. http://www.winonahealth.org 


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