CK Christmas Wish Tree campaign kicks off

Members of the community gather for the 32nd annual Christmas Wish Tree lighting ceremony at CKHA’s Chatham site on December 16, 2021 (Courtesy CKHAF)

The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance Foundation’s 33rd annual Christmas Wish Tree campaign is officially underway.

Community members are encouraged to honour the memory of a loved one this holiday season through a donation to the annual fundraising initiative. For each donation, a light will be added to the Christmas Wish Trees at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance’s  Wallaceburg and Chatham sites in their honour.

“Our annual Christmas Wish Tree campaign is such a meaningful way to celebrate the holiday season as we keep our loved ones close in our hearts,” said CKHAF President and CEO Mary Lou Crowley. “We are so excited to join with our community once again as we carry on this annual Chatham-Kent holiday tradition that has touched the lives of so many in our community for over three decades.”

The memorial trees will be lit up during special ceremonies where attendees will celebrate the lives of those who are being remembered. This year’s tree lighting ceremonies will be held on December 14th at 6 p.m. at CKHA’s Wallaceburg site and on December 15th at 6 p.m. at CKHA’s Chatham site.

All proceeds from this year’s campaign will support the purchase of new warming cabinets for CKHA’s Chatham and Wallaceburg sites. The cabinets are used to warm linens and blankets to increase patient comfort, prevent hypothermia and to decrease anxiety in the hospital environment.

According to hospital officials, more than $3 million has been raised to date for the CKHA through the Christmas Wish Tree.

“As we approach the cold weather and winter months ahead, small comforts like a warm blanket can make all the difference in a patient’s experience,” CKHAF Board Chair Bob Hockney said. “Warmed blankets are used every day on each unit at CKHA, and these warming cabinets play a major role in helping patients remain comfortable during their stay in hospital.”

Once again this year, the foundation will also honour the lives and legacies of local healthcare advocates lost in the past year. To recognize their legacies, a purple bulb will be illuminated on the Christmas Wish Tree for each Legacy of Giving Honouree. This year’s honourees are Dr. Angelita Allen, Steve Bilodeau, Rex Crawford, John Meko Sr., Richard Pollock, and Ruth Tetrault.

Anyone who wants to learn more about the Christmas Wish Tree campaign or make a donation in memory of a loved one can do so by visiting the CKHAF website, calling 519-436-2538 or visitng the foundation office at 9 Ursuline Ave. in Chatham.