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Manteca Tree of Lights
Remembering those who have died
Members of the East Union High choir perform. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Brenna McLeary had a good reason to support Hospice of San Joaquin’s annual “Manteca Tree of Lights” on Wednesday evening.

The breast and lung cancer survivor witnessed the passing of several people close to her including a sister over the last year.  McCleary felt almost obligated to pay her respects and show her support for an organization that strives to improve the quality of life of those afflicted with terminal diseases.

McCleary was pleased to see the turnout at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. The tradition of lighting a bulb in memory of those lost shows that those dealing with the effects of deadly diseases aren’t alone.

 “They help make those who are facing terminal illnesses as comfortable as possible during what may end up being their last days, and letting people in the community know how beneficial that is to the families is very important,” she said. “When you’re diagnosed with something that might kill you then you’re a part of a club that you don’t want to be a part of.

“Hospice helps ease that burden, and nights like this let people know how many people were helped by the organization – some in their last days.”

More than a hundred people crowded around the tree outside of Doctors Hospital of Manteca. Many were looking at the posted lists of those who have succumbed to various diseases since a year ago.

While McLeary represents a group that may still end up fighting the diseases that they’ve already thwarted once, there were some in attendance that wanted to remember those who passed and thank Hospice for the benefits they provide to both the afflicted and their families during a time of immense need.

According to LeeAnn Dorville, the event Wednesday also helps promote awareness of how many people that Hospice touches on an annual basis from those who are facing an uncertain future or the loved ones they’ll leave behind.

“Everybody that’s here has a common bond – they’ve all been affected by a family member or a friend who lost their battle,” Dorville said. “By getting together it helps create a sense of community spirit through people coming together and supporting one another.”