THE GIFT OF LIFE: As part of National Donate Life Month, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center recently hosted its annual reception to bring attention to the need for life-saving transplants.
It also received a US Department of Health and Human Services award for increasing organ donation rates.
Transplant recipients were celebrated, and organ and tissue donors were honored during the reception. They shared stories and reunited with the surgeons and team that cared for them.
Dr. Richard Nesto, Lahey’s chief medical officer, accepted the federal agency’s Silver Medal of Honor — presented by the New England Organ Bank — for its work to achieve and sustain national goals for donation, including a donation rate of 75 percent or more of eligible donors at its facilities.
The Lahey health care system includes medical centers in Burlington, Peabody, and Lexington.
Members of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center’s transplant department performed the first successful liver transplant in New England more than 25 years ago, and have been involved in kidney transplantation since 1970.
The team has performed more than 1,700 liver and kidney transplants.
“Together with the New England Organ Bank, state motor vehicle departments, and Donate Life, we have increased the number of registered donors in New England to more than 5 million,” said Dr. Elizabeth Pomfret, chairwoman of Lahey’s department of transplantation.
“However, the transplant wait list continues to grow and it’s critical for all of us, including donors and recipients, to continue our public education efforts to increase donations,” she said.
The public can sign up through the state organ donor registry or online at www.donatelifenewengland.org.
A GREEN MILESTONE: The Festival of Trees in Methuen kicks off a yearlong celebration of its 20th anniversary with “An Emerald Evening’’ on Friday.
The cocktail and dinner reception recognizes the beginnings of the festival, its founders, and the people, organizations, and businesses that have contributed to its success.
The Festival of Trees began as a fund-raiser to support the restoration of the historic Tenney Gate House in Methuen.
A small group of volunteers planned a display of 17 decorated Christmas trees at the Nevins Memorial Library that were then raffled off to visitors.
By 2003, the festival had grown from 17 trees to 200. The Brooks family invited the organization to its spacious quarters at 13 Branch St., and it became the home of the festival.
About 1,000 people, businesses, and organizations have donated trees, and 1,500 volunteers have donated their time. The festival attracts some 27,000 visitors annually who come to view 240 decorated trees and wreaths.
The mission of the festival remains historic preservation.
During the past 20 years, it has provided $1.4 million in grants to 140 preservation projects throughout the Merrimack Valley and beyond.
“We started this event with the purpose to restore and preserve our heritage here in Methuen, and due to its growth and success over the past 19 years, we are now helping to do the same in many of our surrounding communities,” said Ann Guastaferro, festival president. “In honor of our 20th anniversary, we will be hosting special events throughout the year to showcase the work of the festival, and to recognize and give thanks to the community for helping to make the festival a great success story.”
The green color theme for the events matches the 20th anniversary gemstone, emerald. Events include a communitywide treasure hunt and a family day in the park, both in September. The Festival of Trees opens Nov. 23.
“An Emerald Evening’' runs 6:30 to 10 p.m. at 13 Branch St.
Tickets are $65. Visit www.methuenfestivaloftrees.com.
WHO’S WHAT WHERE:
Evan Diamond, vice president and financial education manager at Cambridge Savings Bank, recently presented a Teach Children to Save program to kindergartners at the Lynch Elementary School in Winchester. Diamond read a book, “Just Saving My Money,’’ to the class, and each student received a piggy bank and a dollar in change to practice comparing the value of different coins. . . Dr. Deeba Husain has joined Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Retina Consultants in Stoneham as site director. The practice provides medical and surgical care for retina-related eye conditions, including age-related macular degeneration and diseases stemming from diabetes. . . Bubba Haygood of Gloucester and Nick Matthews of Boxford recently participated in the Haymakers for Hope Rock ’n’ Rumble, stepping into the boxing ring to raise money and awareness for cancer research.