Winter wonderland of trees benefits local cancer center

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JEFFERSON CITY - Trees and wreaths filled the halls and rooms of the Goldschmidt Cancer Center Sunday afternoon. The Capital Region Medical Foundation hosted its Second Annual Festival of Trees. 

Small trees were decorated by students from 21 different schools in mid-Missouri. Local businesses and volunteers decorated and donated trees for the event. Attendees also had the opportunity to buy the decorated trees. Organizers said the proceeds will help the cancer center continue to provide advanced care to the community. Last year's Festival of Trees raised over $50,000.

Goldschmidt Cancer Center's Dr. Jay Allen, a radiation oncologist, said the organization started the event to raise awareness of the cancer center in Jefferson City.

"I like Christmas and a lot of other people do too," Allen said. "I thought this would be a great time to not only create awareness, but to celebrate with folks who have been through the journey of cancer treatment."

Capital Region Medical Foundation Director Rita Kempker said she is excited more people will know about the Goldschmidt Cancer Center.

"I am also excited that we brought in a lovely crowd and had the participation from the schools this year," Kempker said.

Allen said the schools who participated decorated and donated over 55 trees.

"When we do this, we get everybody involved," Allen said. "All those kids have friends, relatives and grandparents who have been touched by this terrible disease."

Allen said some of the students even wrote messages on the trees like "Get better soon," and "God is with you."

"Their hearts are in the right place," Allen said. 

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