UPMC Northwest is a little brighter this holiday season because of the generosity of a local couple. A quartet of 20-foot-high, lighted Christmas trees have been erected on the hospital grounds. The towering trees were funded by a donation to the non-profit Northwest Hospital Foundation.
“The donors wish to remain anonymous, but they are longtime supporters of our Foundation,” said Theresa Edder, executive director of the Foundation. “Their gift also includes the addition of two 10-foot trees for next year.”
The trees were placed in atypical settings rather than in common areas, such as the entranceway to the hospital. That was a deliberate choice, said Edder.
“Two are in the front, but another is near the emergency room and the fourth is near the Transitional Care Unit,” she said. “In each case, they can easily be seen by visitors, staff and patients.”
The intent for the tree setup was provided by Brian Durniok, hospital president. “We had a simple Christmas tree in the courtyard and he said he wanted more than that,” said Edder. “So he approached the Foundation and we found donors who were right on board with that.”
The effort was prompted by what Edder described “unusual times.” “Due to the unusual circumstances of this holiday season, there will be an unprecedented number of patients who will be alone this year due to COVID restrictions and countless healthcare heroes working long hours away from their families,” she said. Those concerns prompted the tall lighted trees to be placed in areas that have high visibility for staff and patients.
“Brian asked for that specifically because of patients who don’t have visitors and staff that is working so hard in this pandemic,” said Edder. “It lets people look out the hospital windows, see the trees and take a breath.”
The distinctive trees will remain in place through the holidays.