For most people who celebrate the holidays, decorating the tree is one of the best parts of the season — getting all the decorations out of the attic, stringing the lights, the ribbon, and the popcorn and cranberry garlands.But for some children who are sick, the joy of decorating the tree doesn’t happen. That’s where the Plano Garden Club comes in. Club members decorate miniature trees for the Center of Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) inpatient unit at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas and deliver them to the hospital each holiday season.This year, the club decorated 75 themed mini trees for the CCBD. Each child in the cancer center’s inpatient unit got to pick out his or her own tree for their rooms. Another 30 or so trees went to inpatients at Children’s at Legacy in Plano.“You can see the sparkle in their eyes when they see ‘their’ tree,” says Melinda Goff, a child life specialist at Children’s. She says each child just seems to know which tree is right for them.The holiday tree project was started in 1997 when club member Charlotte Loncar’s granddaughter Alexandra was in the inpatient unit for treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma. Alexandra did not survive her cancer and passed away when she was 4 years old. The tree project is now dedicated to Alexandra’s memory.
Says Ms. Loncar: “It’s just something you cannot express in words to see each child pick out their own tree. Our decorating comes from the heart and the ladies of the garden club are so dedicated. They love to see the joy it brings to the children, their families and the staff at Children’s Medical Center.”