Twas the 2nd of December and all through Scottish Rite
Not a tree was decorated, not even one light;
Trees were placed through the hospital with care,
In hopes that volunteers and friends soon would be there…
Christmas cheer filled the halls of Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children Tuesday night as friends and volunteers came together for the annual tree lighting ceremony. The smell of popcorn wafted through the Atrium as Dallas area organizations, businesses and community members gathered to help decorate the hospital for the holidays. The 18 foot grand tree, located in the hospital Atrium, was ceremoniously lit by TSRHC patient Emily Hough and Steve Love (President and CEO of the Dallas Fort Worth Hospital Council) to kick off the festivities. After everyone joined in a joyous rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” the volunteers and the holiday decorators dispersed throughout the hospital to decorate over 50 trees.
Holiday music played by the Town North Concert Band put the whole hospital in the spirit while the trees were lovingly decorated. Quick as a flash, the hospital was almost instantaneously transformed in a manner of minutes. Over 50 trees across the entire campus were uniquely decorated for their holiday debut. Some trees feature traditional holiday décor while others feature more humorous themes like surfing Santa. Each of the trees is as uniquely beautiful as the children of this hospital.
After every last ornament and ribbon was perfectly in place, everyone sat down to a holiday feast of sweet potatoes, roast beef and brie sandwiches and gingerbread men. It was truly a time of good tidings and great joy for all at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
As a seven year old with juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), Emily Hough has accomplished more than most. While receiving treatment at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC), Emily had the idea to create sock monkeys for other children that were preparing for surgery.
Emily’s condition is an autoimmune dysfunction that affects just 3 out of 1 million children. Though it is rare it appears mostly in females. JDM is often mistaken for muscular dystrophy as it has similar symptoms; however, in reality they are very different. The symptoms include muscle weakness, muscle inflammation, red rashes on the face, hands, and other major body joints, and calcium deposits under the skin.
These symptoms are products of the body’s immune system attacking its own blood vessels. Despite being a patient herself, Emily wanted to help others in the hospital, as well as help the hospital itself. Since establishing Emily’s Monkeys, she has had a few opportunities to donate her creations, but she continues to reach higher and higher.
Starting Small and Going Strong
Emily’s father Josh thought it would be a good idea to start a fundraiser, and where better than Emily’s favorite donut shop, The Hole Thing in Forney, Texas? They created special monkey-shaped donuts, doubled all of the proceeds, and delivered it to TSRHC.
Since then, Emily has not let her JDM hold her back. She co-wrote and published her first children’s book based on her sock monkeys and has been paying it forward ever since. Not only has she donated copies of the book to TSRHC and local schools, she is donating thirty percent of the book’s proceeds to three different charities: the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and CureJM.
Photo Credit: Forney ISD Director of Communications Larry Coker