Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Kicks Off 25th Annual Tree of Lights Fundraiser

On Tuesday, November 18, the Auxiliary of Memorial Hospital will launch its 25th Annual Tree of Lights fundraising campaign. Tree of Lights is an opportunity to honor special people while raising money for programs and services that benefit The Memorial Hospital at Easton.

The community is invited to the Tree of Lights tree lighting ceremony on Tuesday, November 18 at 4:30 p.m. at the front lobby entrance to Memorial Hospital at 219 S. Washington Street in Easton. Festivities will include refreshments and entertainment by the Bay Country Chorus and the children of the Shore Health System Child Development Center. In keeping with tradition, the lighting of the tree in the front circle of the hospital will mark the beginning of Easton’s holiday season. The tree will stay illuminated until the first of the New Year.

The Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s 25th Annual Tree of Lights fundraiser benefits Shore Regional Cancer Center, which is located in Easton. The Auxiliary has set a goal to raise $7,500 for a new quality assurance radiation monitoring system for the Requard Radiation Oncology Center. This instrument is a fundamental part of the process of delivering radiation therapy to cancer patients.

Joseph Shultz, President of the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, says, “Our Board had many requests for gifts to be funded by this year’s Tree of Lights campaign. We selected this important equipment for Shore Regional Cancer Center because so many of our lives and the lives of our neighbors have been touched by cancer.”

The quality assurance radiation monitor is used by specially trained staff at the Requard Radiation Oncology Center to check the amount of radiation being generated from the machine that is used to treat cancer patients. The monitor also measures the shape and energy of the radiation beam that will penetrate the targeted tumor. All of these measurements must be accurate to ensure treatment that is precise for each patient.

“No other aspect of health care is subject to as many safety checks as radiation therapy,” says Phillip Sawyer, MS, lead medical physicist for the Requard Radiation Oncology Center. “By law we are required to take daily measurements that validate the performance of our two linear accelerators, the machines we use to deliver radiation treatments for cancer patients.”

Sawyer adds, “Every morning, before we treat the first patient, we take a series of technically complex measurements to ensure that treatments are safe and effective for each person who comes to our center.”

Brian Leutner, director of oncology services for Shore Health System, adds, “We are most grateful to the Auxiliary for choosing Shore Regional Cancer Center once again to benefit from the Tree of Lights campaign. Their generosity will allow us to upgrade our current quality assurance monitors with more sophisticated equipment, enabling us to maintain our linear accelerators in the highest working order.”

The radiation monitoring system that will be purchased with funds raised by the Tree of Lights campaign is a new generation of more accurate devices that will assure safe and high quality treatments as radiation techniques continue to evolve and improve. The new monitor will track the performance of the radiation machines and give the physicists an early warning sign that service may be required.

Sawyer says, “With this type of information available to us every day, we are less likely to have equipment down time, so we can see patients at their scheduled appointment times without unnecessary delays.”

The community can support the Tree of Lights fundraiser by making a donation to purchase lights that illuminate the Memorial Hospital holiday tree. A one-season donation of $5 buys a red or gold light. The red light honors family members and friends, living or deceased. The gold light honors people serving in the military. A $100 contribution purchases a white Life Light, which will be lit each year.

“Purchasing an annual light or a Life Light is also a unique way to commemorate special occasions, to offer thanksgiving and to show appreciation,” says Rosalie Bryan, chair of Memorial Hospital Auxiliary’s 25th Annual Tree of Lights campaign. “The name of each person recognized through the purchase of any light will be displayed at Memorial Hospital throughout the holiday season.”

For more information about the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary Tree of Lights fundraiser, call 410-822-1000, ext. 5839.