It’s that time of year again, when the volunteer Christmas Tree decorators of St. Clair County gather in the South Tower Lobby of McLaren Port Huron to festoon the trees with garland, tinsel, ornaments and whatever else these creative crafters have dreamed up. That’s right: The 34th annual Festival of Trees is returning to Port Huron.
The decorating festivities started on Friday, Nov. 18. And while Thanksgiving Day marks the official start to this year’s Festival of Trees, sneak peeks may be had a few days beforehand. Seventeen Christmas Trees are planned to go up in the South Tower Lobby this year, with one tree vignette slated to be installed in the window of McLaren’s Karmanos Cancer Institute.
Scenes from last year’s Festival of Trees at McLaren Port Huron.
It’s a slightly different Festival of Trees this year. While in years past, members of the community were encouraged to enter a raffle to take home one of the extravagantly decorated Christmas Trees, it’s going to be a little different in 2022. This year, the McLaren Port Huron Foundation is reserving all eighteen Christmas Trees for hospital employees, where workers can enter a free drawing to take home their very own tree. It’s a way to thank McLaren’s workforce as they push through these uncertain times wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, with its effects still felt by many individuals and organizations in the community.
“We are not raffling them off to the public this year; we're just doing a free drawing for the employees to show our appreciation for them,” explains Sara Tait, Director of the McLaren Port Huron Foundation. “They'll still be visible in the windows with all of them displayed for the community, but they'll only be available to win by employees here at the hospital.”
The best defense
While this year’s Festival of Trees might be a little different, the primary reason for the festival remains: to help raise money for critical equipment and infrastructure upgrades for the hospital. In 2019, the festival helped raise money to complete the new James C. Acheson Heart and Vascular Center. In 2020, the fundraiser helped purchase endobronchial ultrasound bronchoscopy (EBUS) equipment for the hospital. EBUS equipment allows for the early detection and treatment for lung cancer.
“We are very excited to be getting new mammography equipment with 3D Upright Stereotactic Breast Biopsy capabilities at Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place,” says Marsha Parker, Manager of the Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place.
This year, funds raised from the 34th annual Festival of Trees will hopefully help complete fundraising goals for what the 33rd annual festival started raising money for in 2021. The McLaren Port Huron Foundation aims to help the hospital purchase equipment that will enhance breast imaging services at their Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place. The Hologic Upright Breast Biopsy Guidance system features 3D stereotactic biopsy capabilities, which enhances imaging capabilities and creates a better patient experience. With the Hologic system, physicians will be able to biopsy lesions that are only visible with tomosynthesis imaging, while delivering a lower X-ray dose and reducing a patient’s time under compression.
“The absolute best defense against breast cancer is early detection,” says Marsha Parker, Manager of the Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place. “According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 8 women may develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The greatest risk in developing breast cancer isn’t family history; the single greatest risk is being female. So, unfortunately, no woman is exempt from that 1 in 8 lifetime risk. 3D Mammography has been key in providing better visualization through dense breast tissue, resulting in smaller cancers being found sooner.”
The Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place is located at McLaren Port Huron hospital.
“We are very excited to be getting new mammography equipment with 3D Upright Stereotactic Breast Biopsy capabilities at Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place,” Parker says. “In addition to traditional 2D biopsies, this new equipment means that we can biopsy small areas only found by 3D Mammography. This equipment also means a more comfortable and faster breast biopsy experience for our patients who will no longer be required to lay on their stomachs for an extended period of time.”
‘Tis the season
Since this year’s Festival of Trees won’t be offering a public raffle in their efforts to raise the remaining funds for the breast cancer detection equipment, the McLaren Port Huron Foundation will be relying on their event sponsors to close the gap. Sponsorship forms are available online at www.mclaren.org/phfestival
In lieu of the public raffle, the Foundation has planned a Holiday Family Movie Matinee event at the McMorran Place Theater. The event is free and open to the public and scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. They’ll be showing the Christmas classic “The Santa Clause” with Tim Allen, with an opportunity to meet the real Santa Claus after the movie. To register for this event, go to McMorran.com/shows
“The McLaren Port Huron Foundation’s focus this holiday season is about giving back; to the community through the free family holiday movie matinee, our employees by offering all decorated trees to them in a free drawing, and to our yearly donor club members by celebrating their commitment at a donor appreciation event,” says Tait.
‘Tis the season, after all.
“We are so grateful to the McLaren Port Huron Foundation for their continued support of our community’s health needs,” says Parker. “Our goal is to remain the facility of choice for many local families, and we are proud to partner with the McLaren Port Huron Foundation to bring 3D Upright Stereotactic Breast Biopsy to Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place.”
Visit the McLaren Port Huron Foundation online at www.mclaren.org/phfestival for more information about this year’s Festival of Trees, and at www.Mcmorran.com/shows to register for the Holiday Family Movie Matinee.