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November 26, 2008 > Trees of Angels Campaign Lights Up the Holidays

Trees of Angels Campaign Lights Up the Holidays

Several Events Throughout Tri-City Area Raise Money for Hospice Services

With the holiday festivities just around the corner, community members are invited to join Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation (WHHF) at the 13th annual Trees of Angels campaign.

This year's campaign, which raises money for and promotes awareness of local hospice care, will kick off on Monday, Dec. 1 with a tree lighting ceremony at the Bernardin family's McDonalds Restaurant located at Mission Boulevard and I-680 in Fremont, birthplace of the Tri-City area's original tree lighting ceremony. The campaign will follow with two more lighting ceremonies in Union City and Newark, as well as a special children's breakfast with special guests Santa and Ronald McDonald. The tree lighting ceremonies are complimentary and refreshments are provided.

These local events will give members of the community an opportunity to learn more about hospice care and allow family members to celebrate the memory of a loved one by lighting a symbolic bulb during one of three upcoming tree lighting events.

How hospice helps the community

All funds raised by the campaign will go towards supporting local end-of-life care provided to those typically expected to live six months or less. Specialized hospice caregivers provide necessary medical, psychological and spiritual support with the ultimate goal of helping people who are dying enter their final moments with peace, comfort and dignity. Caregivers work with clients to control pain and other symptoms so they can remain as alert and comfortable as possible. They also provide services to support patients' family members during this difficult time.
Since the Trees of Angels campaign began, nearly $320,000 has been raised for hospice care services in the Tri-City area.

Generous support helps those in need

"Ensuring that local hospice care is readily available to residents of Washington Township Health Care District has long been a goal of the Hospital and our Foundation," according to WHHF Executive Director Brent Hodson. "Thanks to the vital support our campaign receives each year from the Bernardin family and the event's Benefactor Sponsor, R.K. Electric, Inc. and its owner Lonnie Robinson, Trees of Angels continues to increase awareness and provide care to families in need of hospice services."

Washington Hospital works in partnership with organizations, including Pathways Hospice, to ensure comfort, independence and dignity for those nearing the end of life.

"Pathways provides compassionate, high quality patient and family-centered home health and hospice care," says the organization's Medical Outreach Coordinator Ellen Cuozzo. "The specialized compassionate care and support provided by Pathways Hospice allows those nearing end of life to spend their remaining days in the comfort and dignity of their home, assisted living facility or nursing home. Studies show, at the end of life, most people prefer to be at home."

Pathways offers a team of caring support people including a consulting physician, nurses, home health aides, social workers, chaplains and volunteers. Pathways offers family and caregivers individual and group grief support for up to a year following the death of a loved one.

"We care for the patient and family," Cuozzo adds. "We offer round the clock access to advice, reassurance, home visits, spiritual care and grief support. The compassion and skill offered by the team enhance quality of life for everyone in a patient's last months."

The campaign's beginnings

Al Bernardin, owner of several local McDonald's franchises, and the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation founded the Trees of Angels campaign together in 1995. Bernardin began his mission to bring Trees of Angels to the community after a family member was cared for by hospice. The tradition has continued over the years with the support of the Bernardin family, including current McDonald's owner and WHHF Trustee Mark Bernardin.

How you can help

With a $10 donation, community members may light a symbolic bulb at the Trees of Angels campaign in honor or in memory of a loved one. Donors who contribute $50 or more will receive a commemorative tree ornament and recognition in the Foundation's newsletter.

To donate to the campaign, please make checks payable to Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation and mail to WHHF, 2000 Mowry Avenue, Fremont, CA 94538.
For additional information about Trees of Angels events or sponsorship opportunities, please call (510) 791-3428, email, or visit

Join the Campaign to Support Hospice Care

Join Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation this holiday season to help support hospice care during the following special events:

Monday, December 1, 6 p.m., Tree Lighting, McDonald's Restaurant, 42800 Mission Boulevard at Interstate 680, Fremont
Wednesday, December 3, 5:30 p.m., Tree Lighting, Nakamura Clinic, 33077 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City
Thursday, December 4, 6:00 p.m., Tree Lighting, Silliman Center, 6800 Mowry Avenue, Newark
Saturday, December 6, 8:30 a.m., Children's Holiday Breakfast with Santa and Ronald McDonald, Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont (Registration required; $10 per guest.)

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