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Antelope Valley Medical Center Invites the Community to Attend Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

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(LANCASTER, Calif.) — On Wednesday, December 2 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Antelope Valley Medical Center (AVMC) will celebrate the holiday season with a tree-lighting ceremony outside the main hospital entrance. Festivities will include:

  • Christmas Carolers
  • A visit from Santa
  • Telling of the AVMC Christmas Tree Story
  • Lighting of the tree
  • Refreshments

The large pine tree that sits in front of the hospital has a heart-warming history. Two young siblings, Ricky and Felippa, were frequent patients of Antelope Valley Medical Center in the 1980s to be treated for cystic fibrosis. While Felippa passed away at age four. Ricky, devastated by her loss, began to write poems to express his grief. These poems were often about the care he received from AVMC’s nurses and doctors. He died in August 1994 at the age of 16, but not before making a lasting impression on those who cared for him. To honor his memory, the pediatric staff planted a three-foot tall pine tree just outside the playroom window one year after his death. Today that tree reaches into the sky and becomes an even more beautiful focal point during the holidays when it is festively decorated.

The AVMC engineering department spent two days decorating the tree with more than 2,000 lights and 100 decorations. Additionally, they ran a special conduit line down the length of the tree to secure the bright shining star on top.

“We are excited to invite the community to join us for this wonderful ceremony to celebrate the holiday season,” said Mary Binkowski, AVMC director of volunteer services and tree-lighting coordinator. “Everyone is welcome to join AVMC staff to celebrate the season and honor our patients, families, guests and community.”

About Antelope Valley Medical Center

Celebrating 60 years of caring for the community, Antelope Valley Medical Center is located in the city of Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County. The 420-bed district hospital is a Level II trauma center and provides a full array of medical/surgical services, pediatric treatment, NICU, mental health, cancer care and more. More information is available at or by calling 661-949-5000. Follow us on Facebook at