Christmas tends to be a season filled with joy, happiness and holiday cheer, but not everyone has that luxury.

There are countless people who struggle this time of year. UPMC Hamot hopes to recognize some of those people each year by lighting a Christmas tree in front of their facility.

UPMC Hamot is putting the focus on its terminally ill patients and family members this time of year to support those who struggle during this time of year and to remember loved ones who have come before us. UPMC Hamot brightened the night on Tuesday, lighting a 20-foot Christmas tree in honor of terminally ill patients and their families.

This time of year means different things to many different people, and UPMC’s hospice team does its best to help ease any burdens.

For Charles Boo Haggerty, the holidays are a time to remember his mother.

“I lost my mom 10 years ago tomorrow, but that hospice team really gave us such strength to know that she died with so much dignity. What we do tonight, there are lights on that tree for my mom, there are lights on that tree for many people who lost loved ones, and it’s really a sign of celebrating their life,” said Charles Boo Haggerty, president, Hamot Health Foundation.

Haggerty called the Christmas tree a beacon of light and added that it stands as a symbol of hope, life and joy for all those that we hold dear and for those who are in need.

“Our hospice team does such incredible work taking care of people in their most vulnerable times at end of life. Helping the family but really helping that patient with the most dignity and respect that they can give them. Tonight is a night where we just celebrate hope, celebrate life, and we’re thankful for all of these people who have gone on before us,” Haggerty added.

Donations will benefit Family Hospice of Erie at UPMC Hamot. The Christmas tree in front of UPMC Hamot will be up and lit all throughout the holiday season.