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  • 500 clocks find good homes, thanks to tree designer Sheldon Arkin

    More than 500 clocks decorated the 2012 Mary Bridge Festival of Trees entry by longtime Horticulturist and Landscape Designer Sheldon Arkin, who has designed a tree for the annual Mary Bridge Festival of Trees for more than 20 years. On Thursday, the clocks found their way to good homes. 

    The 2012 tree was his final entry as a lead designer. Named “Sheldon’s Olde Bavarian Clock Shoppe,” the tree inside a small cottage that was covered by more than 500 clocks, and was donated back to Mary Bridge to be displayed in the hospital's main lobby.

    Employees who made donations to Mary Bridge on Thursday were invited to select a clock from the tree's display to take home with them.

    In a letter titled "Tick Tock" that was posted with the tree, Arkin wrote: 

    Friends -

    The time has come to say goodbye. Creating and designing for the Festival of Trees has been an honor and an incredible delight. It has been a privilege to be part of this fundraising effort for Mary Bridge Children's Hospital. The friends and community gained in my 20-plus years here are invaluable to me and what I consider one of the greatest gifts the Festival has given me. 

    It is with this honor that this Christmas will be my last with the Festival as a designer. The joy will be mine in the years to come -- as a spectator or volunteer in another capacity -- to enjoy the trees and Festival with the same wonder as you do. 

    Thank you and God bless,

    Sheldon Arkin

    "The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is." -- C.S. Lewis

    The 26th annual Mary Bridge Festival of Trees raised $1.7 million and continued the tradition of celebrating the lifesaving efforts of MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Tacoma.

    Over the past 26 years, the annual festival has raised $22.4 million for Mary Bridge programs, through the generosity of many. That generosity comes from donors, buyers of trees, sponsors, and the designers themselves - many of whom design trees year after year as a way to give back. The auction featured 60 decorated trees, and more than 10,000 people attended the he five-day event that concluded Dec. 2 at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.

    This year, the festival supports the expansion of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Medical-Surgical Unit. This includes outfitting patient’s rooms with beds, monitors, medication pumps and comfort pieces for patients and families. “These items are essential during a patient stay and will meet the medical and caring needs of children and families,” said festival chairwoman Britany LeRoy, RN, who works in the Mary Bridge Emergency Department. “As a pediatric nurse, this cause is very personal to me.”

    Construction began in 2012 on the project to update the areas serving women, newborns and children at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Tacoma General Hospital. The four-year project will add more Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) beds, a renovated Tacoma General Family Birth Center and an improved Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). For details, visit

    Posted on Jan 10, 2013 in Special Events