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Festival of Trees raises $1.6 million for kids at Mary Bridge

Posted on Dec. 20, 2013 ( comments)
Ronna Schreiner has fun bidding at Ladies Night Out, part of the weeklong Mary Bridge Festival of Trees. Ronna and Steve Schreiner own and manage Ohana Harbor Coffee and Redbird Kona Coffee.

The 27th annual Mary Bridge Festival of Trees raised $1.6 million for MultiCare Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center in Tacoma.

“I can’t cure cancer or do surgery, but I can loan my time to this extraordinary cause,” said 2013 Event Chair Patty Tabet Ferguson.

The week of festivities in early December culminated with the Gala Auction and Dinner , followed by two public viewing days at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center. Other highlights were Ladies Night Out, Jingle Bell Jam and MultiCare Employee Night.

Support Mary Bridge: Ways to help

Over the past 27 years, the annual event has raised more than $23 million to support kids and families at Mary Bridge. That generosity comes from donors, sponsors, buyers of trees, and the designers themselves - many of whom design trees year after year as a way to give back to the children’s hospital.

“Sick kids don’t live only in King County, they live everywhere,” said tree designer Laurie Maus of Lakewood. “It’s important that Pierce County has Mary Bridge, which has a top-notch, dedicated staff. That only works if you have people in our community to help and support the hospital.”

Maus and her mother Liz MacGowan represented the Dotha McCormick Orthopedic Guild by designing the tree “Twinkling Stars & Snowflakes Delight” sponsored by 3M, and the 4-foot tree “Fa-La-La-La Fabulous” sponsored by HDR.

Watch: Time-lapse video of their tree being decorated.

“It isn’t every day that you can personally make a difference,” MacGowan said. “I don’t mind writing a check, but I like to use creativity to give back. Show me a problem and I’ll decorate it.”

MacGowan helped start Festival of Trees 27 years ago. She’s been designing trees ever since.

“It’s just a longtime commitment to children,” MacGowan said. “I love it that we have helped fund things for the hospital that we can touch with our hands and say, ‘I gave this.’ It’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Slideshow: Festival of Trees photos

Like: Mary Bridge Children's Hospital on Facebook.

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