A Christmas tree, for many, is put up each year so Santa Claus can place presents underneath. But the one outside UPMC Hamot, has a different meaning for the people that have loved ones who are receiving, and have received, care from Great Lakes Hospice
"The purple lights are in honor of people that we care about and the white lights are in memory of those that have passed," said Heather McLaughlin, Program Manager of Great Lakes Hospice.
Three years ago, the Hamot Health Foundation started the Brighten the Night campaign as a way to raise money and awareness for Great Lakes Hospice.
"We found this foundation in Texas that did something similar and we thought why don't we try it in our community, I think it'd be something that would be a success and it has been," said Kelly Reams, Development Officer for the Hamot Health Foundation.
Plenty of awareness, and thousands of dollars, has been raised for Great Lakes Hospice thanks to this campaign. Possibly more important, though, is the fact that this night brings people together who are experiencing loss, and let's them know, they're not alone.
"There's a lot of folks in there that I know have had a loss this year, and they're so sad," said McLaughlin. "But it's a way to bring folks together and show that there's others that feel that way, and there's love."
"To get together and be together with others who've lost someone and to celebrate their lives, it's just so meaningful," said Reams.
Each time family members and friends, see those lights shining bright on this tree, they can remember all their loved one, and the times they've shared.
This year, the campaign is extending until December 31. They've raised almost $30,000 and are looking to reach their goal of $40,000. For more information on how you can help, you can click here