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Hospice of Westchester Hosts 'Tree of Life' Celebration in Rye Brook

RYE BROOK, N.Y. – Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester (HPCW) held its 10th annual "Tree of Life" Celebration at Hilton Rye Town in Rye Brook on Wednesday evening. According to Holly Benedict, director of public affairs, the event is a "celebration of life."

"It's a way for the community to get involved with HPCW," Benedict said.

HPCW is based in White Plains but places hospice caretakers in every corner of Westchester County. The "Tree of Life" is a way for HPCW to celebrate and remember the lives of those who've passed on, Benedict said.

With a donation of $20, donors are given one gold star inscribed with a loved one's name to be placed on the Tree of Life. A more generous donation of $50 or more gives the donor an additional hand crafted porcelain ornament.

"This year, we've allowed those in attendance the opportunity to hang the star on the tree themselves," Benedict said with a smile.

For Mary Spangler, executive director of HPCW, the night really hit home. Spangler, who took her position only six months ago, admitted in a teary-eyed address to the audience that the night marked the anniversary of her mother's passing.

"This night is about remembering and celebrating the lives of our loved ones," Spangler said in her address to the audience.

Although new to the role, Spangler has previously served on the organization's board of directors and was instrumental in the organization's formation almost 20 years ago.

"Mary has been a visionary for the organization ever since she got involved," Benedict said, “We are truly lucky to have her."

The event had entertainment from Manhattanville College's pop vocal group "The Quintessentials." According to Benedict, the group has been performing holiday classics for the event for the past five years.

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