Festival of Trees lights up the season

There might not be a more colourful and delightful sign of the arrival of the Christmas season locally than ‘Festival Week’ here in the City.

This includes the hugely popular 23rd annual Festival of Trees event which runs at Westerner Park Nov. 23rd-27th.

From day one, the Festival of Trees has been an extremely important fundraising event for medical equipment and technology. Last year, $1.6 million was raised to enhance client care and services in the Medical Specialty Clinics at the Red Deer Regional Hospital.

For 22 years the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre has received more than $12.9 million from the Festival of Trees, and their mission is to continue this great event through the ever-changing economy.

Fundraising efforts for this year’s Festival of Trees will be directed to once again enhance client care and services in the Medical Specialty Clinics at the Red Deer Regional Hospital. This will be phase two of the fundraising effort.

Medical Specialty Clinics provide a multidisciplinary approach to care for clients in Central Alberta living with multiple sclerosis, Hepatitis C, heart failure and anticoagulation therapies as well as specialized geriatric services, stroke prevention and other complex medical conditions.

Over 2,000 clients per year access ambulatory services in the Medical Specialty Clinics. This number is anticipated to double by 2024.

All Central Alberta residents will benefit from the renovation and expansion of services by improving access to a specialized team and thereby decreasing wait times, officials said.

The renovations will result in an improved physical environment that supports clients with mobility aides, family presence at clinic appointments, and allowing for the creation of new and the expansion of existing services.

Enhancements to the Medical Specialty Clinics space will support individuals with chronic conditions to maintain maximum independence and avoid hospitalization.

Meanwhile, events included in this year’s Festival of Trees are The Festival Business Lunch on Nov. 24th, the Taste of Red Deer on Nov. 24th, the Festival of Wines on Nov. 25th, ‘Tis the Season Luncheon and Mistletoe Magic, both on Nov. 26th, and Breakfast with Santa on Nov. 27th.

A new event this year is the Festive 5K Walk/Run which will take place on Nov. 26th in partnership with The Running Room. The event will begin in the morning and start north of Westerner Park on the City paths.

Of course the focal point of the entire festival is the tree room. Wandering around the wonderful examples of Christmas creativity is an inspiration in itself and there is something magical about the room’s feel. There are also auction items both silent and in raffle form that attendees can participate in.

Ultimately, Festival of Trees provides not just a brilliant means of kicking off the season, but it’s also an ideal way of supporting a cause that could potentially help so many Central Albertans. We know it has been a tough year for Central Albertans with the downturn in the economy, but organizers are still hoping that citizens will open their hearts and give what they can – every little bit helps.

For more information on this year’s events and being involved with the Festival of Trees, check out www.reddeerfestivaloftrees.ca, email foundation@albertahealthservices.ca or call 403-406-5517/403-343-4773.

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