SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – As we approach a holiday where families can get together, one hospital is using its Christmas spirit to honor patients whose diagnosis prevents them from enjoying that quality time. At CoxHealth this Christmas, you can help decorate a hospital tree if you buy a bow that remembers, honors or celebrates a loved one’s battle. This has been a tradition for 15 years.
“I bought two bows,” Patricia Holt said. “One is for my parents, and the other is for a friend that just passed away right at Thanksgiving.”
Every Christmas, Patricia Holt thinks about her parents.
“Both of them had birthdays and their anniversary this time of year,” Holt said. “So, just those big family gatherings just aren’t the same without them anymore.”
She lost her father to stomach cancer, and her mother to lymphoma.
“They’ve been gone for over 10 years,” Holt said.
Holt’s friend also passed away from a similar diagnosis.
“I don’t know what type of cancer, but it was really quick,” Holt said.
As she continues to mourn her loved ones, this is her second year donating to the “Knot Forgotten” program.
“It’s really just that additional way of remembering them this time of year,” Holt said. “To honor those loved ones, those caregivers, those going through treatment right now. It’s just a great way of putting that focus on them at this time. As each year goes by, you just want to remember more and more. So it’s just that additional way.”
The trees are at three different locations around Springfield. Whitney Williams, who helped coordinate the program, says every bow on each tree will have a card showing the donor’s name, and sometimes, a note.
“For me it’s just reading all the personal messages,” Williams said. “They’re all so heartfelt and just knowing that they’re coming from a place of love and remembrance. That’s what makes it special for us.”
Williams says each bow has a different color: red, to remember someone, gold, to celebrate, and silver, to honor a caregiver.
“That work so hard to care for our loved ones,” Williams said. “That’s not an easy job either and we want to recognize them as well.”
Through this CoxHealth tradition, you can buy a small bow for $10, or a large one for $50. A present can also be put under a tree for $500. Proceeds go to the Glauser Oncology Fund.
“Which provides patient advocates for our cancer patients,” Williams said. “So those patient advocates can help find resources in the community that a patient might not otherwise find. They can also help them fill out medication applications. So when they’re needing cancer medications they can’t afford, they can use a patient advocate to fill out the application and send it over to us and we can provide that for them.”
You can find a “Knot Forgotten” tree at Cox South in the North lobby, the West Pavilion and the Hulston Cancer Center. This program is also happening at the Cox Medical Center in Branson.