SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Snowpants and knitted hats were the outfit of choice at the 24th Prince County Hospital Foundation Lights for Life Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The smell of hot chocolate and spiced apple cider filled the cold night air. Children, bundled up until they resembled stuffed toys, bounced with anticipation. The Prince County Hospital (PCH) staff choir sang Christmas carols from a stage.
After a prayer and thanks to the sponsors and donors, emcee Chris Pride announced the beginning of the light show. A chugging engine accompanied a glowing train and the lights began to flash in time to a Stompin’ Tom Connors carol.
A haunting melody was next and angels illuminated the night.
Michael Bublé’s voice followed and had the crowd bobbing along to the tune.
To cap it off, the train made a return and bit by bit, all the lights blinked to life and shone together.
The PCH medical director, Dr. Wassim Salamoun, announced the largest total to date for the Lights for Life at $244, 682 and donations will still roll in until Dec. 31.
This year, the foundation has focused its efforts on replacing the hospital's main X-ray room at a cost of $550,000.
“Whatever your gift and however you make it, we thank you,” said the foundation board’s president, Patrick McSweeny.
Not including this year’s total, the light show has raised over $3.4 million since its inception in 1995. All the money goes to equipment for the hospital.
Islanders sponsor the many thousands of lights throughout the month of November.
Individual donors and the person they’ve memorialized are published in a book each year.
Irene Matthews picked up a book at the table next to the hot chocolate. She and her sister, Louise MacDonald, participate every year.
“The lights I get for my family,” she said.