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MOBILE, Ala. -- Choirs sang and hot cocoa flowed as more than 1,000 people gathered at USA Children's & Women's Hospital to celebrate the joy and wonder of the season for the seventh annual Lights of Love tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 28, 2017.
Choral groups from UMS-Wright Lower School, Saraland Elementary, Faith Academy and the University of South Alabama entertained guests before a 50-foot tall tree twinkled to life with more than 350,000 colored lights. A group of dancing physicians known as "Dr. Fun" also performed a cheerful skit that included several "snow flurries" during the free community event.
Two former patients, Starla Chapman and Delaney Zimlich, along with Santa Claus, Ronald McDonald and Children’s & Women’s Hospital Administrator Chris Jett helped light the tree, counting down with the crowd. WKRG news anchor Devon Walsh served as emcee for the evening.
Hundreds of children enjoyed treats and crafts, including reindeer food and candy canes. Superheroes and Star Wars characters mingled with Azalea Trail Maids and popular princesses. Many of the hospitalized children who could not leave their rooms watched the tree come to life from their windows above the courtyard.
The grounds crew at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, along with more than 100 student volunteers spent two weeks assembling the tree frame and then preparing the branches for placement. Silver, blue and green ornaments were added to the tree this year. Because the tree is 50 feet tall, a hydraulic lift was used to do most of the decorating.
The event is sponsored by USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital, USA Mitchell Cancer Institute, Ronald McDonald House and USA Physicians Group.
© 2017 USA Health System