Winchester – Every Christmas ball tells a story – and the annual Wish Tree Lighting Ceremony provides an opportunity to celebrate each one. The event was held in the Winchester District Memorial Hospital lobby on December 12, 2017.
The Christmas Wish Tree program provides an opportunity to make a donation in memory, or in honour, of someone near and dear to your heart. “The simple act of writing your loved one’s name down on a piece of paper, can be overwhelming. You want to use your best penmanship and be sure that it’s just perfect. In that ten seconds it takes to write out that name, memories might come flooding back, a faint smile might cross your face and you might feel happy because it happened or sad because it’s over,” explained Foundation Managing Director Kristen Casselman at the event. “Your love, memories and commitment are what make this program special and successful. Thank you.”
This year, the program has extra special meaning, as it has been renamed “The Judy Lannin Christmas Wish Tree”. Judy Lannin, a kind-hearted and determined WDMH team member, started the program 20 years ago. A granite memorial stone was unveiled in her honour, to be placed at the foot of the tree in the roundabout at the front of the hospital.
Judy’s family attended the event and noted that staff at WDMH were Judy’s second family. “They worked together – not for her, but with her. She knew everyone. She knew their families and she took an interest in their lives,” noted husband Brian Lannin.
Judy’s daughter Andrea spoke of her generosity. “She always instilled the gift of giving. That was important to her. Not necessarily the giving of material items, but giving of yourself.”
Thank you to the Seaway Valley Singers who were so enthusiastic to sing O Christmas Tree, among other carols. Unfortunately, due to weather, the students from Morrisburg Public School were unable to make it, but they’re sending their 200 empathy cards to the hospital next week to be distributed to patients. We look forward to welcoming them back next year.
Another highlight of the evening was having Gaye Benoit and her three children in attendance. Gaye wrote the Wish Tree direct mail letter this year, sharing her connection with WDMH since 1955. She lives in Crysler.
Special thanks to Scotiabank, our Presenting Sponsor. Local branches in Chesterville, Morrisburg, Osgoode, Russell, and South Mountain are accepting Christmas Wish Tree donations on the Foundation’s behalf. Already, more than 40 donations have been made at the branches.
Gold sponsors include Boom 101.9FM/Fresh Radio 104.5FM, Third High Farms. Our Silver Sponsors this year include JED Express, Pommier Jewellers, WC Robinson and Sons, and Traiteur la Bonne Bouffe. At the Bronze level, Ault & Ault Law Offices, Collins Barrow WCM LLP, HomeTown TV12, Louis’ Restaurant in Chesterville, Ontario Power Generation, Ted Moran & sons, Wells Ford, and Udder Comfort have chosen to sponsor, many as repeat sponsors. Please consider supporting these generous and community-minded businesses with your holiday shopping needs.
Wish Tree proceeds go to the Family Care Fund to help ensure that WDMH can continue to provide compassionate, excellent health care – close to home.