Mark Miller has been through the wringer. His daughter Mary Beth was born with severe heart defects and was constantly in and out of the hospital for surgeries and medial treatments. Sadly, she passed away at seven years old.
That’s why, when he was asked to take part in a charity event to provide Christmas trees to young patients at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL, he didn’t hesitate to sign on. Miller works for ACE Hardware, and along with employees from 30 other Ace stores, he was given the task of delivering trees for a mini Christmas tree farm at the hospital so that the kids who were spending the holidays there could pick out trees for their rooms.
The event was hosted by the Junior League of Birmingham and along with Ace’s donation of 340 3-foot artificial trees, a local construction company made the tree farm come to life with building structures, hanging twinkle lights – they even made fake snow! The Junior League provided decorations for the trees along with other festive activities, including a visit from Santa.
“I know what it’s going to mean to a family, because I’ve been in the room that in the morning, you don’t know if you’re going to make it until six o’clock,” Miller said, his voice shaking, in a promotional video for the hospital. “And so, you sort of cling to every little thing that makes your child happy.”
The children were all smiles as the children picked out their trees. Some cruised around the patio in wheelchairs and wagons to choose their trees, others twirled around in the snow. Along with traditional green trees, there were sparkly blue and purple options, and all of the trees had a tag from Ace with a special holiday greeting. For patients that weren’t able to leave their hospital rooms, trees were brought to them so they didn’t miss out on the festivities.
“My hope for this is that they get another Christmas” Miller said. “I know that there’s a possibility that this might be the last tree that one of these kids gets. And, if we can put a smile on his face? Everything we’ve done is worth it.”
Inspired by this incredible act of kindness? You may not be able to provide every child in the hospital with a Christmas tree, but you can help spread the magic of the holidays in other ways. You can donate a Stocking Surprise to SickKids and help make sure all patients at the Hospital for Sick Children have a special gift on Christmas morning.
You can also donate to organizations like the Junior League of Birmingham to help fund more events like the Christmas tree farm.
Let’s #StartSomethingGood together.
(images and video c/o Children’s of Alabama)