LOCAL NEWS

Utah Family Finds Festival Of Trees Inspiration In Daughter With Heart Condition

Nov 17, 2020, 7:59 PM | Updated: 8:01 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Despite the challenges surrounding COVID-19, the Festival of Trees in Salt Lake City is celebrating their 50th anniversary with a virtual event to raise funds for Intermountain Healthcare’s Primary Children’s Hospital.

People in our community have been busy decorating the trees that will be available to view online during the first week of December.

Over the next several weeks we’ll share some of the meaningful reasons people participate in the Festival.

For several years the Peterson family has participated in the Festival of Trees.

“It’s just something that we all look forward to doing during the holidays,” said Jamie Matheson.

Their devotion to Festival of Trees came about after her daughter, Mia, was born.

“She was born on November 18, 2011, and she only weighed four pounds, two ounces,” said Matheson.

“She was diagnosed with a heart defect that 99 percent of children die from,” said Shona Peterson, Mia’s grandmother.

“It’s called ARCAPA (anomalous right coronary artery from the pulmonary artery), and it’s the right coronary artery,” Matheson said.

“When Mia had her surgery, the doctor told us that she was truly a miracle,” Peterson said.

The care she received at Primary Children’s Hospital touched their family deeply.

“Just the spirit that’s there,” Peterson said. “You cannot describe it until you’ve spent a lot of time there, but there are miracles that happen there every day. Angels walk that hall.”

“It just makes me grateful that there are people that that’s what they dedicate their lives to do,” said Matheson.

“Not everybody’s as lucky as we are, to have had our child survive,” Peterson said. “It’s made me much more compassionate and empathetic for families that have children that are sick.”

Every year since Mia was born they’ve looked for ways to give back to the hospital by participating in the Festival of Trees.

“You don’t find the love anywhere else that you find at Festival of Trees,” Peterson said.

“All year we talk about, ‘What’s our theme going to be? What are we going to do,’ and it’s just really fun,” Matheson said.

The theme for their 2020 tree is “You Melt My Heart.”

“I just thought, what better way to honor Mia then to do a tree for her and to thank the hospital,” Peterson said.

The tree was dedicated to Mia, that little girl with a big heart, whose influence and impact touches everyone she meets.

“I know she’s not necessarily going to be like your typical kid, even as she grows up,” Matheson said. “The fact that she always has a smile on her face and she just brings so much joy and light to everybody around her. That’s all that matters.”

The 2020 Festival of Trees will take place online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Go to makegoodgrow.org to donate and purchase items.

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Utah Family Finds Festival Of Trees Inspiration In Daughter With Heart Condition