Inova Mount Vernon Hospital's annual holiday "Lights of Love" trees got $15,000 brighter as of last Saturday night. That's the total of donations to the hospital auxiliary so far this year. But, gifts usually keep coming in throughout the season.
"This year our gifts will go toward the purchase of new equipment and supplies to enhance the comfort of our therapeutic patients," Sheila Barns, director, Administrative Services, IMVH, told the overflow crowd gathered in the hospital lobby area to enjoy the musical program prior to the official lighting of the trees on the hospital lawn.
"Lights of Love" was created by the hospital auxiliary to "remember loved ones and to honor special friends." This year's ceremony marked the 25th anniversary of the holiday event. In addition to being recognized in the program, all donors are listed on the "Scroll of Honor" in the main lobby.
Joining auxiliary president, Harriet Piper, and Barns at the microphone were IMVH Chief Executive Officer Barbara Doyle and Reverend Donald Binder, PhD, Pohick Episcopal Church. Attendees were treated to holiday musical selection by Ron Speori, who works in the hospital's Engineering Department; the West Potomac High School Soundsations; and cardiologist Cleveland Francis, M.D., who is also a renowned professional musician.
Each year there is an elementary school essay contest for students to express thanks to specific individuals or remember someone special in their lives. This year those essays were presented by Khadijia Yousuf, Hollin Meadows Elementary; Paola Rivera, Fort Hunter Elementary; and Robbie Snow, Waynewood Elementary.
Prior to the lighting ceremony Dr. Cleve Francis performed the annual song of dedication. This year that selection was entitled "Light Up The Night," an original piece by Francis written in 1983.
Following the official lighting, Santa and his helps were available to meet with children, of any age, to hear their pleas and requests. This was combined with a reception in the hospital cafeteria area.