Hundreds gather for annual McLeod Hospice Tree Lighting

McLeod Hospice Chaplain Scott Ard offers the closing prayer during the 35th Annual McLeod Hospice Tree Lighting. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

McLeod Hospice celebrated its 35th Annual “A Light for Someone You Love” Tree Lighting Ceremony Dec. 3, at McLeod Regional Medical Center. More than 300 people attended the event which raised a record breaking amount to support programs and services provided by McLeod Hospice. During the ceremony, the family of Eranda Smith Everett lit the trees. On behalf of the family, her daughter, Chappell Hughes, offered remarks on how much McLeod Hospice meant to them prior to their mother’s passing in January 2019 at the McLeod Hospice House. She explained that her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1998 and remained a patient of McLeod Oncologist Dr. Michael Pavy for 20 years. “When she was diagnosed, without treatment, she would have had only months to live,” said Hughes. “But my mom, even though she would happily go to Jesus if it was her time, wasn’t about to just lie down and not fight if there was an opportunity and reason to fight. So she did. “And she got to see her children graduate high school, college, get married and have quite a few grandbabies. She also ministered to so many people who were in the midst of their own suffering throughout those years. She knew Jesus let her live so that she could love. “We will forever be thankful for the experience we had with hospice. And of course McLeod itself will always be a part of our family. We are living in a world filled with uncertainty, but our mother lived with a settled soul so she could face the future without fear. This holiday season, it’s our family’s prayer that you will also be able to live with a settled soul, without fear, and with an eternal hope.” “For more than 35 years, McLeod Hospice has cared for patients and families in the region by providing them with compassion, comfort and dignity at a critical time in their lives,” explained Joan Pavy, Administrator of McLeod Hospice. “We have been honored over the years to help families remember their loved ones with our tree lighting ceremony, ‘A Light for Someone You Love.’ Each year, the lighting of the trees remind us of those patients we have touched and how they in turn have touched our lives. “On behalf of McLeod Hospice, we thank all those who are participating in our program this evening and the many donors who have contributed to make this event possible by sponsoring a tree or purchasing a light in honor or memory of their loved ones.” Each year, during the tree lighting ceremony, Pavy also recognizes an individual or group for their dedication to McLeod Hospice by honoring them with the Spirit of Hospice award. “This year, the Spirit of Hospice award is being presented to the McLeod HeartReach team. While the primary and important role of this team is to save lives, they also have another role, as part of the Hospice team. Most every day and sometimes multiple times during the day the HeartReach team transports patients from McLeod Regional Medical Center to the McLeod Hospice House. “This may seem like routine work, but my eyes were opened when this team brought my own mother to the Hospice House. Kindly, gently and compassionately they move patients as many of them begin their final journey. I commend the team for caring deeply for our Hospice patients and their families,” said Pavy. Elizabeth Jones, Development Officer with the McLeod Foundation, added, “We were pleased to celebrate our 35th Annual McLeod Hospice Tree Lighting Ceremony during these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic. “This event gives families an opportunity to remember their loved ones during the holiday season and thanks to the support of our donors, McLeod Hospice continues to provide patients and their families peace, comfort and hope while delivering excellent care. “This year, we have also had more trees than ever before sponsored by individuals and organizations in our community who have been personally touched by McLeod Hospice making this our most successful tree lighting to date.” For the protection and safety of everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic, McLeod followed CDC health guidelines for social distancing during the ceremony. Masks and hand sanitizer were also be provided as well as a battery operated candle. Additionally, attendees had the preference to remain in their vehicle during the event and listen to the speakers’ remarks by tuning their car radio to channel 107.7 FM. In addition to the lighting of the trees, a musical presentation was provided by Gracie Myers. Other participants included Will McLeod, Senior Vice President and Administrator of McLeod Regional Medical Center, who provided the welcome, Grace Patterson who recognized the donors who sponsored the tree lighting, and McLeod Hospice Chaplain Scott Ard who led the lighting of the candles and offered the closing prayer. Proceeds raised through the tree lighting directly benefit McLeod Hospice. “A Light for Someone You Love” is sponsored by the McLeod Health Foundation to directly fund items needed for the McLeod Hospice House, to help patients remain comfortable in their homes, provide bereavement care for families being served as well as others in the community, and to offer the children’s grief support program, Camp Jessie’s Kids. McLeod Hospice serves patients in Florence, Darlington, Dillon, Horry, Lee, Marion, Marlboro, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Sumter and Williamsburg counties. While the lighted trees will brighten the community this season, the gifts they represent will help bring the light of hope to McLeod Hospice patients and their families all year long.

Author: Rachel Howell

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