Festival of Trees gearing up milestone anniversary this year

Although the Festival of Trees will not take place until November, organizers with the event are gearing up to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

At a press conference held yesterday afternoon, it was announced this year’s event will take place Nov. 20-24 at Westerner Park.

Public viewing commences on Nov. 22nd, with the Festival of Lights the Night and the Santa Claus Parade taking place Nov. 16th in downtown Red Deer.

It has been 20 years since the very first Festival of Trees in Red Deer, where a group of volunteers put on the event and raised $28,509. Now, after wrapping up Festival 2012 with a record-breaking $1.2 million, officials are heading into their 20th Festival with over $9.5 million raised to enhance health care at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

“It’s a pretty proud feeling to see something turn into a tradition. It’s pretty gratifying,” said Alaine Martin, project officer for the Red Deer Regional Health Foundation.

Money raised at this year’s event will go to support diagnostic imaging and urology as well as the operating room at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

These three departments work together in a collaborative effort for various treatments. Some of these include prostate care and treatment, including cancer detection, numerous urinary procedures requiring a surgical environment as well as identifying need for further treatment for both male and female patients.

Diagnostic imaging and urology will work in collaboration to purchase and install a new imaging unit in the operating room at the Hospital. The urology imaging equipment will assist the urologist with visualization of the urinary tracts of males and females and the reproductive system of males. When not in use for imaging, the equipment will be used for prostate surgeries, stent insertions and/or any procedure that requires access to the bladder in a surgical environment.

This new unit will provide enhanced technology, in the form of a flat panel detector. This is a recent advancement and will be the first of its kind for urology in Alberta Health Services. Flat panel detector technology will provide improved image quality, faster diagnosis and treatment, reduced radiation close to patients, high contrast and high dynamic range imaging, lower table height and a table weight of 750 lbs.

Meanwhile, some highlights of this year’s Festival of Trees include a fundraiser in partnership with Avalon Homes called the 2013 Trade-itional Holiday Home which will see funds raised from the sale of this home, which will be unveiled this fall, go towards the urology, diagnostic imaging and operating room in aid of the men’s health campaign.

There will also be a dinner to recognize the volunteers who have helped to put on the event every year. People will have a chance to vote for the volunteers during this year’s Festival.

Categories include a youth, longtime and current service award.

For more information about this year’s event visit www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca.