Sisters Trisha Yearwood and Beth Bernard to headline TRMC’s Tree of Life Ceremony|
Area residents will honor family and friends and remember lost loved ones at the Tree of Life lighting ceremony to be held on the front lawn at Tift Regional Medical Center (TRMC) on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. This year’s event will feature special guests Trisha Yearwood and her sister Beth Bernard. They will discuss their experience with TRMC’s Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area as well as perform a duet.
An annual holiday tradition in its 27th year, the Tree of Life is sponsored by the Tifton Junior Woman’s Club, raising money for a special fund benefiting patients of the TRMC Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area with special needs. With various giving levels, lights for the tree are purchased in memory or honor of a special family member or friend.
“The Tree of Life provides much needed aid to cancer, hospice or seriously-ill patients who are feeling financial pressures while undergoing treatment or care,” said Christie Moore, director of Hospice of Tift Area. “The fund helps to pay for utility bills, groceries or special comforts.”
Laverne Cook, RN, assistant vice president of patient care services at TRMC, said Tree of Life is another way that the community shows it cares for those in need. “We have to thank everyone who continues to donate to the Tree of Life,” said Cook. “This fund disbursed thousands of dollars in special assistance to the patients of the TRMC Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area.”
The decorative tree will be illuminated with a ceremonial pull of the switch by family members of patients who have received services from Hospice of Tift Area and the TRMC Oncology Center.
Yearwood and Bernard chose to lend their talents to this year’s Tree of Life ceremony after witnessing the care their mother Gwen received from the Oncology Center and Hospice of Tift Area.
“When Mom made the decision that she would take no further cancer treatment and would be coming home from a hospital stay, Mom, Trisha and I knew that we wanted to take care of her at her home in Tifton,” Bernard said. “We also knew that we were going to need some help.”
That’s when they decided to bring in Hospice.
“After a few phone conversations from the hospital, the hospice staff helped my family in Tifton get Mom's house set up with all we needed to bring her home. The staff provided ongoing support both in her home and on the phone whenever we had concerns or needs. The services of Hospice of Tift Area allowed Trisha and me to take care of our mother in the way that we all hoped and gave our family a precious couple of months at home with Mom surrounded by family and friends,” she said. “We are so grateful for the vital service and ministry that they offer to our community, and so it is our privilege to help in this fundraising event.”
The evening will also feature a visit from Santa Claus, as well as a free dinner presented by the TRMC Food Services Department. “Real” snow will even cover the ground.
“Tree of Life is a reflective event, but we also wanted it to be a celebration,” said Stacey Beckham, event coordinator. “We’ll remember those we’ve loved and lost, honor those still with us and celebrate the joy of life.”
One of the highest-selling female artists in Country music history, a New York Times Bestselling cookbook author, and now a Food Network star, Yearwood has a habit of surpassing expectations. Since her 1991 debut, Yearwood has recorded twelve albums and achieved a hit-list of nine #1 hits and twenty Top Ten hits under her belt, including “She’s in Love With the Boy,” “Walkaway Joe,” and “How Do I Live.”
In addition to three Grammy Awards, the Grand Ole Opry member is a three-time Country Music Award winner and a two-time Academy of Country Music Award winner.
Donations to the Tree of Life are being accepted until the end of December. To make a contribution, visit www.tiftregional.com or call the TRMC Outreach and Development Department at (229) 353-6316.
PHOTO: Bernard and Yearwood with their mother Gwen Yearwood. Photo credit: Melanie Dunea.