Memorial Health System’s Strecker Cancer Center at Belpre Medical Campus, received donations of miniature Christmas trees, courtesy of the friends and family of the late Reverend John Lowther, who was a Strecker patient during his battle with cancer.

Veronica Lowther, John’s wife, said the idea was based on her husband’s admission to another hospital the day after Christmas: “They gave us a little Christmas tree on the tray table in his room, and I remember thinking at the time it was such a great idea,” Veronica said. “It was so therapeutic to sit there and build the tree. He didn’t really feel like doing it too much, but I got therapy sitting there building it, so it might be something for the caregiver, too. But I thought it would be great for the infusion center. Sometimes John’s treatments were eight hours long, so that’s such a long day for patients. If this donation brings them a little bit of hope and joy in their day, then I think that’s worth it.”

Veronica shared her plan on social media and invited friends and family to contribute to the project. Her post garnered overwhelming enthusiasm, and within 24 hours, Veronica had received almost twice what she needed in donations to provide each patient with their own tree.

“I couldn’t keep up with the messages the night I posted it, between people sending me donations and asking me how to donate, it was crazy,” Veronica said. “All I could do was sit and cry. I was just so overwhelmed because I couldn’t believe that many people wanted to help like that.”

Veronica said the donations were coming not only from local residents who wanted to help, but across the country. She received donations from Colorado, Mississippi, North Carolina, and more. With the support her project has received, Veronica hopes to make an annual donation to provide Christmas trees to cancer patients in Memorial Health System.

“I’m so appreciative of all the people who donated, but the ones who have blessed me the most have been the cancer patients,” Veronica said. “The ones who have been in that chair, the know what a long day that is, and they’ve come through it. Now they’re giving back to help other people. They’re the true heroes.”

President and CEO of Memorial Health System, Scott Cantley, expressed his gratitude to the community for the
donation and support: “Now, more than ever, we’re so grateful for the support of our community,” Cantley said. “We appreciate this thoughtful donation and the effect it can have on our patients.”

Stacey Wyer, Interim Director of Oncology, said the gift would be well-received by the current oncology patients: “This generous gift from Mr. Lowther’s family and friends will provide our patients with extra Christmas cheer to help them through the holiday season,” Wyer said. “I am humbled and amazed with Mrs. Lowther’s commitment to providing this special gift to our patients in memory of John.”

Memorial Health System is a not-for-profit integrated health system lead by a volunteer board of community members committed to providing comprehensive care services that meet the needs of our region. We are comprised of a network of locations and specialties provided by over 3,000 employees that include three hospitals (Marietta Memorial Hospital, Selby General Hospital and Sistersville General Hospital), outpatient service sites, and provider clinics. Memorial Health System strives to deliver quality care and service with an additional focus on medical education and community service. We invest in the most advanced technologies and treatments today, giving our patients the care that they need, so they can stay close to home.