LANCASTER – Antelope Valley Hospital will celebrate the holiday season with a tree-lighting ceremony this Wednesday, and the community is invited. Festivities will include Christmas carolers, a visit from Santa, telling of the AVH Christmas tree story, lighting of the tree, and refreshments.
“We are excited to invite the community to join us for this wonderful ceremony to celebrate the holiday season,” stated Mary Binkowski, AVH director of volunteer services and tree-lighting coordinator. “Everyone is welcome to join AVH staff to celebrate the season and honor our patients, families, guests and community.”
The tree-lighting ceremony will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, outside the main hospital entrance.
More on the AVH tree
The large pine tree that sits in front of the hospital has a heart-warming history. Two young siblings, Ricky and Felippa, were frequent patients of Antelope Valley Hospital in the 1980s to be treated for cystic fibrosis. Felippa passed away at age four. Ricky, devastated by the loss, began to write poems to express his grief. These poems were often about the care he received from AVH’s nurses and doctors. He died in August 1994 at the age of 16, but not before making a lasting impression on those who cared for him. To honor his memory, the pediatric staff planted a three-foot tall pine tree just outside the playroom window one year after his death. Today that tree reaches into the sky and becomes an even more beautiful
focal point during the holidays when it is festively decorated.
The AVH engineering department spent two days decorating the tree with more than
2,000 lights and 100 decorations. Additionally, they ran a special conduit line down
the length of the tree to secure the bright shining star on top.
[Information via news release from Antelope Valley Hospital.]