The image of a Christmas tree is ingrained in the minds of many people around the holidays — an evergreen with tiny twinkling lights, ball ornaments, and maybe a little tinsel. For the nursing staff at Home Hospice of Grayson County, all a Christmas tree needs are lights and several hundred white paper doves.

The image of a Christmas tree is ingrained in the minds of many people around the holidays — an evergreen with tiny twinkling lights, ball ornaments, and maybe a little tinsel. For the nursing staff at Home Hospice of Grayson County, all a Christmas tree needs are lights and several hundred white paper doves.


On Monday night, Home Hospice of Grayson County held its annual "Light Up a Life" Christmas tree lighting in Sherman to raise funds for hospice care in Grayson, Cooke and Fannin Counties. The nonprofit organization has held the fundraising drive annually since 1984.


"With the help of Home Hospice, my husband was able to spend the last few months of his life in the comfort of our home, have privacy, was able to have friends and family come and go, and have special times doing things he enjoyed when he wanted to," said Ann Harris, whose husband, Frank Harris, was a patient.


Home Hospice of Grayson County has provided home hospice care for terminally-ill patients and support for families since 1982. So far in 2013, it has provided care for over 500 patients, of which 30 patients did not have insurance or financial resources for hospice care.


"We are grateful that (community leaders) determined that it was not someone’s financial resources or availability of insurance that should determine the care and support they would receive at this critical juncture in their life," said Home Hospice Executive Director Sherry Little.


The tree, which is located at Kelly Square in Sherman, will be manned by volunteers Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. through Dec. 20. They will provide paper dove ornaments for the tree for a $10 donation. Volunteers will be at the tree from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 for Dove Day. Home Hospice has a goal of 200 doves a day.


The tree was lit by David White, 62, of Denison. When White was accepted to Home Hospice, he was told that he had about three days to live. "That was over a year ago," said White. "Miracles do happen."


"The nurses and other staff have become like my extended family," he said. "I truly believe I would not be here today if it wasn’t for their dedication and professionalism."


Along with the tree lighting, the Sherman High School Sensations Choir sang holiday classics and carols for the event.


Home Hospice has a goal of $100,000 for the Christmas fundraising drive. Through donations prior to the tree lighting, the nonprofit has already raised almost $46,000. In 2012, the drive raised over $60,000 to provide hospice care to those who could not otherwise afford it.


At the beginning of the event, there were already over 250 doves on the tree.


"We have room for many more," said Sue Malnory, co-chair of Light Up a Life.