Ellis Fischel Christmas Trees Symbolize More Than Holiday Cheer

Christmas Trees at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center

Susan Cunningham’s home gets more crowded each year. That’s where she stores the holiday decorations and trees she assembled this week to brighten the waiting areas of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. She’s been doing it the past 10 years, and her collection has grown to two trees to showcase the hundreds of different ornaments the Mid-Missouri Breast Cancer Awareness Group has created over the past decade.

“We’ve probably made 1,000 ornaments over the years,” Cunningham said. “We typically make around 100 per year.”

Each year, the ornaments have a different design. This year’s came in the form of a tree. Many of the ornaments Cunningham and her group creates are given to breast cancer survivors and those who lost loved ones to cancer. They are invited to paint a name on the ornament and hang it on the tree.

“This may be the bright spot of their day to have a hand-painted ornament with their name on it to hang up on a tree saying, ‘I’m a survivor,’ ” Cunningham said.  

Ornaments can also be purchased for $10 and taken home, with all of the proceeds going to support Ellis. Cunningham can thank her own mother for making this annual holiday gesture possible.

“She passed away in 2017, and all of the money from her memorial goes toward purchasing the ornaments,” Cunningham said.  “It’s just a really rewarding experience.” 


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