Honouring loved ones and spreading Christmas cheer with Ian Anderson House’s Tree of Lights Celebration

On the first Sunday of each December, the grounds of Ian Anderson House are filled with the sights and sounds of holiday cheer, as a large fir tree is lit with Christmas lights and a choir of staff and volunteers sing carols.

The Tree of Lights Celebration is a Hospice tradition around the world that serves to honour the memories of loved ones passed, celebrate the magic of the holiday season and raise much needed funds so that these hospices can continue to provide quality end-of-life palliative care to residents and supports for their families during their last weeks of life.  

Here in Oakville at Ian Anderson House, families are invited each year to join the staff for the lighting of the tree, carol singing, desserts, and hot chocolate and cider. Each family member is given a candle to light in memory of the loved one that they have lost.

This year however, due to the pandemic, the event is being held virtually, live on the Ian Anderson House Facebook page. The staff will on the grounds singing Christmas Carols to families watching at home. Community members are also invited to take part virtually, to show their support and to witness this joyous celebration. The event is being broadcasted live on Sunday December 6th at 5:15 pm.

Anyone wishing to donate to the IAH Tree of Lights can do through the website www.ianandersonhouse.come and select the “to donate” tab.

About Ian Anderson House: Founded in 1997, Ian Anderson House is Ontario’s first in-resident cancer hospice. It is located at 430 Winston Churchill Drive near the corner of Winston Churchill and Lakeshore Rod in Oakville. In addition to residential bedside care Ian Anderson House also provides outreach support for those families caring for a loved on dying at home.

IAH is dedicated to the memory of Ian Anderson, who was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 1987 and who died in November 1990 at age 59.  The creation of IAH arose from the personal experience of Margaret Anderson, who took care of her husband Ian at home during the last three months of his illness.  Ian died at home, which was his wish, but Margaret had become aware of the lack of alternatives for those in a similar situation who, for whatever reason, could not be given the necessary round-the-clock care in their own home.  IAH was created to provide palliative care in a home-like, safe environment for individuals with terminal cancer.  Because of her experience of caring for Ian in the last few months of his life, the physical and emotional toll, the sense of isolation and the feeling of anxiety and uncertainty, Margaret decided to create a residential hospice in memory of her husband so that families in a situation like hers could be cared for and supported.

Seven years later, in 1997, Ian Anderson House, Ontario’s first cancer hospice was finally opened, on the seventh anniversary of Ian Anderson’s death.  As of October 2020 more, than 2900 residents and their families have been cared for and supported at IAH.


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