Lights of Love returns for 2022
THREE RIVERS — An annual tradition at Three Rivers Health will return for its 3nd year this year, and by all indications, it will be back to how it was pre-COVID.
Lights of Love, the annual holiday fundraiser for the Three Rivers Health Auxiliary, are currently accepting donations for its 2022 campaign. Over the past 32 years, it has raised upwards of $420,000 to buy necessary medical equipment for the hospital.
The fundraiser asks for a minimum $3 donation in recognition of someone who’s passed or in appreciation of someone special, and each donation places a light on a Christmas tree that will be lit up in a ceremony on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m. at the hospital.
“Lights of Love was started with the idea of appreciating or in memory of or appreciation of somebody that is still alive, a special person. It was a $3 donation that would get you a light on the Christmas tree, and the tree was lit before Christmas, and that tradition has carried on for 32 years now,” Lights of Love Committee co-chair Gary Armstrong said. “We always have a goal each year to raise and get a special item for the hospital. These items are always for something that will directly benefit the patient, nothing like decor or anything, just strictly for the patient.”
A list of those honored or remembered via donations will be presented during the Dec. 10 ceremony, and will also be published in the Christmas Eve edition of the Three Rivers Commercial-News.
This year, as it has been every year, the goal they are trying to reach is $10,000, which will be mainly used to buy a new step and track system with a harness. Armstrong said this equipment is designed for people recovering from lower-body paralysis, and will be used in the inpatient therapy area.
Armstrong said donations so far have been picking up and will still be over the next few weeks. He added that there are “healthy contributions” that have also been made. He added that last year’s campaign was more of an “informal” one due to COVID and the change in ownership of the hospital to Beacon Health, but they still managed to make it work.
“Circumstances didn’t allow us to go forward with a formal campaign, but we had an unofficial one and still raised a considerable amount of money, and it turns out they identified some equipment, and we got it for them,” Armstrong said.
As far as the ceremony goes, it is projected to be the first in-person ceremony since 2019. Both 2020’s ceremony and 2021’s ceremony were done virtually via YouTube and Facebook. Armstrong said the last two years were “not the same” not having an audience to celebrate with, but that he’s looking forward to this year’s festivities.
“We’re hoping for a good turnout. Maybe with the early storm, it’ll be calm by December. Might be wishful thinking,” Armstrong said. “We’ll of course have the tree lighting and the presentation of the gift, and thanking everybody. We’re hoping to have a lot of people show up. It’s fortunate enough that right now people won’t have to wear a mask, and it’ll be done in the cafeteria. The Aristocrats will be doing a presentation of some songs. It’s nice to get back to the traditional ceremony we’ve had over the last 32 years.”
Overall, Armstrong said he’s looking forward to seeing how much can be raised, and notes that people anticipate the fundraiser every year.
“That’s why we’ve been with it as long as we have, and why it’s been in existence for 32 years. They look forward to it and anticipate it,” Armstrong said.
Those who wish to donate can send donations to Three Rivers Health Auxiliary, 701 S. Health Pkwy, Three Rivers, MI 49093, Attn. Lights of Love.
Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or firstname.lastname@example.org.