Hospital project lights the holiday season with ‘love’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Features Editor

Lights will illuminate those special loves in the lives of Pike County residents tonight when the switch is flipped on the "Lights of Love" tree at Edge Regional Medical Center.

The "Lights of Love" tree and the illumination ceremony have become a tradition in Pike County. However, the original purpose of "Lights of Love" has been expanded from honoring

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cancer survivors and remembering those who lost their battles with the disease, to include anyone who holds a special place in the lives and hearts of others.

"The ‘Lights of Love’ tree is a wonderful way to honor someone you love during the Christmas season as well as cancer survivors and victims," said Faye Lunsford, public relations director at ERMC.

"Of course, all of the money collected from

"Lights of Love" will benefit the American Cancer Society."

The lights are $5 each and may be purchased through 3 p.m. today by calling Lunsford at

670-5512 or 670-5000.

"The names of those honored or remembered will be on display in the lobby of the hospital throughout the holiday season and will also be read during the candlelight service at ‘Lights of Love" tonight,’ Lunsford said.

The "Lights of Love" program will begin at 5:30 with a welcome by emcee Jim Roling and a devotional prayer by the Rev. Steve Rascoe.

However, Santa Claus is expected to drop by for a short visit, so children might want to come early and bend his ear their way. Santa will be in the hospital lobby until all good little boys and girls have had a chance to make their Christmas wishes known to him.

For only $3, mom and dad may have that special moment with Santa captured

on camera. Proceeds from pictures with Santa also benefit the American Cancer Society.

Special music will be presented by Shelia Jackson and the Troy State University Gospel Choir.

"The really great thing, this year, is that Shelia and the gospel choir will present special music for the program," Lunsford said. "They are wonderful and everyone will enjoy them. They will also lead the caroling, which will begin shortly after 5:30."

Following the caroling, Rusty Eldridge, hospital CEO, will read the names of those for whom the "Lights of Love" burn so brightly.

"We want to make it convenient for those who want lights for their loved ones to be able to get them before the lighting ceremony," Lunsford said. "All anyone needs do is call me. I’ll take the information and a check can be dropped in the mail or brought by the hospital whenever it’s convenient. It’s not necessary to get the money in our hands before tonight in order to have a light designated in honor or memory of a loved one."

Santa’s favorite treats, hot chocolate and cookies, will be served and everyone is invited to come early or stay after for a time of fellowship with friends and neighbors.