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November 9, 2010 > Tree of Angels Lights Up the Holidays

Tree of Angels Lights Up the Holidays

Annual Celebration Supports Local Hospice Care

Twinkling lights, festive gatherings, visits with Santa, and Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation's annual Tree of Angels celebration are holiday traditions that many of us look forward to this time of year. The Tree of Angels tree-lighting events and community breakfast support hospice care in the Tri-City area, which helps local residents all year long.

"The Tree of Angels is our way of bringing some holiday cheer to the communities we serve," said Angus Cochran, executive director of the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation. "It gives us the opportunity to celebrate with our friends in Fremont, Union City, and Newark while supporting critical hospice care services for Tri-City residents."

The Tree of Angels events are held in late November and early December each year and feature a tree-lighting ceremony and entertainment. A $10 donation symbolically lights a bulb on the tree while lighting up the lives of local people who need hospice care.

The community breakfast has become an annual tradition for many local families, drawing about 300 people each year, according to Cochran. This year it will be held on Saturday, December 4 at the Conrad E. Anderson M.D. Auditoriums located at Washington West (2500 Mowry Avenue) and features a visit with Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald. The $10 admission fee includes breakfast and a photo with Santa. Registration starts at 8 a.m.

"The breakfast is a fun time for kids of all ages," said Mark Bernardin, Trees of Angels Chair and owner of Bernardin Family McDonalds.

A Holiday Tradition

The Tree of Angels campaign started in 1996 and over the years has helped hundreds of local people get quality hospice care. Since it began, the Tree of Angels has raised nearly $370,000.

Tree-lighting ceremonies are scheduled to take place at the Bernardin's McDonald's Restaurant on Mission Boulevard in Fremont on Monday, November 29, the Nakamura Clinic in Union City on Wednesday, December 1, and Newark City Hall in Newark on Saturday, December 6.

Elected officials will light the trees at each event. Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman will have the honors at the Fremont tree lighting at McDonald's, Union City Council Member Carol Dutra-Vernaci will light the tree at the Nakamura Clinic, and Mayor David Smith will flip the switch at Newark City Hall.

"We are very grateful for our Tree of Angels sponsors who make this all possible each year, particularly longtime sponsor RK Electric," Cochran said. "McDonald's has also been a great partner, providing the food each year for the community breakfast. Thanks to our sponsors and community supporters, we are able to support local hospice care."

Compassionate Care

Hospice care provides medical services, emotional support, and spiritual resources for patients who are in the end stages of a terminal illness, when the focus of care changes from cure to comfort. Pathways Hospice is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that offers this type of care. Hospice care is provided in the patient's home, whether that is a house or apartment, or a skilled-nursing or assisted-living facility.

Pathways serves the Tri-City area and works closely with physicians and other medical professionals at Washington Hospital. Hospice care is directed by the patient's own doctor, and is guided by the wishes of the patient and his or her loved ones.

The Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation was created in 1983 to enhance the Washington Hospital Healthcare System by increasing public awareness and financial support. Each year the Foundation holds events like the Tree of Angels and Top Hat Dinner Dance to raise funds for equipment or services that will improve patient care.

For more information about the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation, call (510) 791-3428 or visit

Tree of Angels Event Schedule

Monday, November 29, 6 p.m.
Tree Lighting at McDonald's Restaurant
42800 Mission Boulevard in Fremont

Wednesday, December 1, 5:30 p.m.
Tree Lighting and Union City Chamber Mixer at the Nakamura Clinic
33077 Alvarado-Niles Road in Union City

Saturday, December 4, Registration begins at 8 a.m.
Breakfast with Santa and Ronald McDonald
Washington West, 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont
Reservations recommended, $10 per person

Monday, December 6, 6 p.m.
Tree Lighting at Newark City Hall
37101 Newark Boulevard in Newark

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