Light Up a Life

The Inter-Mountain photo by Tim MacVean Lois Pritt, chief operations officer at Davis Trust Company in Elkins, hangs an ornament on a Christmas tree in honor of Toni Croston who served for 25 years as assistant head teller at the bank. The ornament was hung earlier this month at DTC as part of the 34th annual West Virginia Caring ‘Light up a Life’ campaign to remember ill and deceased loved ones.

Editor’s note: The Inter-Mountain’s annual Comfort and Joy series will continue in each edition leading up to Christmas.

ELKINS — For more than 30 years West Virginia Caring, formerly Hospice Care, has been giving individuals the opportunity to place ornaments in remembrance of loved ones.

Anyone can remember loved ones who have passed away or honor those living and those who are suffering illnesses by supporting the annual Light up a Life event.

“Light up a Life is a fundraiser with West Virginia Caring where people can make donations in honor or memory of their loved ones, maybe people that we have taken care of or just people that they choose to honor,” Nancy Dotson, volunteers and outreach coordinator for West Virginia Caring/Hospice Care, said. “West Virginia Caring has been around – formerly Hospice Care – for more than 30 years and Light up a Life has been happening for all of that time. It’s just a way for people to remember their loved ones.”

Twelve counties including Barbour, Braxton, Calhoun, Gilmer, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, Pocahontas, Randolph, Taylor, Tucker and Wetzel counties participated in the 2017 campaign.

“We have 12 counties and there are trees representing all of the counties,” she said.

Dotson said she believes it is important not only to remember lost loved ones but to allow families afflicted to share time with one another and reminisce.

“It’s an important event because those that we took care of, they really want to be able to remember their loved ones, and the holidays are a hard time. So, if you can come out and be with others who are also remembering someone that they lost or honoring those, maybe who are ill now or they want to honor, its a really important thing for people to do and spend time together,” Dotson said.

Dotson said that community involvement is paramount to the initiative, noting the Elkins Middle School sixth grade choir performed three songs during the Dec. 6 ceremony at Davis Trust Company in Elkins.

“Involving the community — bringing the students out — that just lets more people know what we do and gets them out and about,” Dotson said. “They also learn what a memorial is and how people are remembered.”

For more information or to purchase an ornament, brochures are available at each county tree location as well as at the West Virginia Caring office located on Diamond Street in Elkins.

“If somebody wanted to be involved in the Light Up A Life we have brochures at every one of our trees,” she said. “We have brochures here at Davis Trust as well as Mountain Valley Bank. We have brochures at every other tree throughout the counties as well as at our office on Diamond Street in Elkins.”

West Virginia Caring is hosting the fundraiser now through the end of December.

For the past 34 years, the Light up a Life annual campaign has raised money for the organization’s patient care services. West Virginia Caring of North Central West Virginia is one of the oldest nonprofit hospice organizations that provides end-of-life care for people who have life-limiting illnesses without the ability to pay.

For a donation, individuals can place a light, ornament or a special keepsake angel on a tree in any of the participating locations. Donations are made in memory or honor of a friend or loved one. Everyone who is remembered or honored is entered into a memory book, which is one display throughout the season.

This year the keepsake clay angel is holding a house. Lights, ornaments and the handmade keepsake angels are available for a donation. All donations are tax-deductible.

More information about Light up a Life is available by calling West Virginia Caring at 1-800-350-1161 or the Elkins West Virginia Caring office at 304-637-0618. Online ordering is available from Hospice Care’s website at www.wvcaring.org.

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