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'Light a Life' donations help make end-of-life care available to everyone

St. Peter's Health
Posted at 11:28 AM, Dec 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-08 13:56:12-05

HELENA — The St. Peter’s Health Foundation is encouraging the community to donate to Light a Life - Helena’s only fundraising event for St. Peter’s Hospice. Light a Life gifts make end-of-life care available to anyone in the community, regardless of their ability to pay.

The Light a Life fundraiser has going for more than 28 years. Donations help provide care and support to more than 260 hospice patients and their loved ones each year. St. Peter’s says Hospice caregivers have always gone above and beyond, but the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to create new, unprecedented challenges.

“Like many areas in health care during the pandemic, we had to adjust our day-to-day operations and increase our use of personal protective equipment during in-person patient interactions,” Barbee said. “Certainly, our caregivers adapt and provide the very best care they can offer, but that would not be possible without the support we’ve received from the community,” said St. Peter’s Health Foundation Vice President Stephen Mason.

St. Peter’s Director of Post-Acute Care Services Katie Barbee, MSN, RN, CHPN shares that similar to birth, the end of life is a universal experience. “Our dedicated caregivers help each patient and their family navigate this most precious time—offering not only all required medical care, but the just-as-important support, guidance and compassion they need in these unique situations,” Barbee said. “Donations to Light a Life ensure those who need hospice services can die in a comfortable, dignified and peaceful manner.”

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the St. Peter’s Health Foundation will not be hosting their traditional in-person event and tree lighting at the Helena Civic Center. Instead, and following the loss of the iconic 100-year-old Light a Life evergreen tree during a 2021 windstorm, a multi-tree light display near the entrance of the Civic Center will carry on the tradition. A new tree has also been planted at the site of the former evergreen to symbolize that hope remains despite hardships and struggles.

Community members interested in supporting Light a Life can donate here.

Those interested in supporting the program can also purchase a commemorative Light a Life tree ornament designed by Helena artist Alan Snell thanks to a partnership with the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce. The ornaments are available for purchase at various locations in town including the St. Peter’s Health Gift Shop.

The Light a Life light display at the Helena Civic Center will commence on Thursday, December 9 at 5:00pm and will be lit every night through January 1.