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Tree lights reflect memories, hope

December 13, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The hundreds of lights shining from two trees outside Chambersburg Hospital reflect the memories people hold of loved ones who have died and hope for those who will be treated there in the future, according to the chairwoman for the hospital's annual Festival of Lights.

For 15 years, the Chambersburg Area Hospital Auxiliary has raised funds through the Festival of Lights, Chairwoman Nancy Cassel said after a group of about two dozen people witnessed the lighting of the trees along Lincoln Way East.

Each light signifies a $10 contribution by someone in memory of a family member or friend and, as of Sunday night, more than $6,000 had been raised "toward the auxiliary's million-dollar pledge to the hospital," she said.

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"We're well into our second million-dollar pledge," Cassel said at a reception following the tree lighting. The first million raised by the auxiliary, which has more than 300 members, benefited emergency room and operating room renovations, the cancer treatment center, the neonatal screening program and other hospital services, she said

The money being raised now is for cardiology services at the hospital, Cassel said.

Three book fairs, two uniform sales, a bake sale and the Festival of Lights are among the fund-raisers held each year to benefit the million-dollar pledge, according to Peggy Speelman, the Ways and Means chairwoman for the auxiliary.

The auxiliary also holds two yard sales each year to benefit its Patient Emergency Assistance Fund and a lottery ticket sale in January to support its scholarship program, Speelman said.

Auxiliary member Dora Frisby said she makes annual donations in the name of her late mother, Victoria Compton, and late husband, Leon. Members Esther Wagner and Doris Heberling said their yearly contributions are in memory of their late husbands, both named Bob.

One family made donations in the name of 34 friends and family members and a physician paid for 14 of the lights on the trees, Cassel said. The list of donors and those whose memories are being honored is kept in a book in the hospital lobby, she said.

Cassel, who has served a chairwoman of the event for most of its 15 years, said she learned of a similar program at another hospital during a regional meeting of hospital auxiliaries years ago.

At the lighting, the Rev. Paul L. Yuen, the hospital chaplain, called the festival "a beacon of hope ... for patients who come to us for treatment."

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