Auxiliary’s money supports Obici nursery

Published 11:59 pm Friday, December 4, 2009

The location may have been different, but the excitement was undiminished as the Sentara Obici Hospital Auxiliary held its annual tree-lighting ceremony Thursday night at the National Guard Armory on Godwin Boulevard.

In previous years, the event — which features a children’s musical program, a visit from Santa Claus and refreshments, along with illuminating the Tree of Lights — was held at the hospital.

Because of new policies in place at area hospitals since the swine flu pandemic was identified as a particular threat to those suffering from other illnesses or problems with their immune systems, however, children are no longer allowed to visit the hospital.

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Hospital administrators, auxiliary members, family members and friends were undeterred, however, in their plan to kick off the season right, while commemorating the people who have donated money in the Tree of Lights campaign this year.

“We’re very excited about the Tree of Lights,” Obici chief administrator Rosemary Check told the crowd that had gathered at the Armory.

Hospital officials are also excited about the donation of $25,000 worth of equipment to the hospital’s third-floor nursery this year, she said.

The organization chooses a different part of the hospital to support with its donations each year, according to member Debbie Williams. This year, the nursery has received three cribs and a “giraffe incubator” as a result of the auxiliary’s largesse.

The Tree of Lights is one of the last fundraisers the organization does each year, and lights and stars can be sponsored through Dec. 31, Williams said, for a donation of $10 per light or $50 per star.

The sponsorships are available in the hospital gift shop or at the volunteer office, where sponsors can fill out a form identifying whose memory they are honoring and giving information that will allow the auxiliary to send a note of acknowledgement to the family of that person.

The promotion raises between $1,500 and $3,000 a year, she said. Also this month, there has been a cash-for-gold sale, and a jewelry sale was planned, she said. Other events throughout the year raise money through the sale of cookware, shoes, pocketbooks, linens and other items. But the biggest fundraiser of all, according to Williams, is the hospital gift shop, which is run by the auxiliary.

Obici Hospital has benefited from an auxiliary for 45 years, Williams said.