East Texas Medical Center Tyler will celebrate its
26th annual Christmas tree lighting on Tuesday,
Dec. 3, at 5 p.m., with a Tyler man who received a kidney from a
David Travis, who's the chief financial officer at ETMC Athens,
was transplanted in October with a living kidney donation from his
childhood friend, Neil Patterson, who's from the Fort Worth area.
Travis was diagnosed 13 years ago with kidney problems, and in the
past few years reached a point where he needed a transplant.
Patients are put on a waiting list, but also are encouraged to seek
out family or friends who might be a match and qualify to be a
"I was humbled and grateful that my friend stepped forward to
give me one of his kidneys," said Travis. "His life- saving gift
was the best present I could have received this holiday season. I
am honored to light the ETMC Christmas tree to remind everyone of
the importance of organ donation and to celebrate ETMC's commitment
to kidney transplantation." Travis has worked at ETMC Athens for 23
years. He's been married for 29 years to his wife, Jennifer, and
has two grown children, Adam and Julie.
Since 1987, the ETMC Transplant Center has helped 677 patients
receive a path to a better life with a kidney transplant.
Performing holiday music will be the East Texas Men In Harmony.
The group is comprised of men from all over the region and is
affiliated with the International Barbershop Harmony Society. Also
presenting their Christmas Spectacular show will be the
award-winning Robert E. Lee High School Southern Belles.
Santa and two of his real reindeer will greet children on the
front lawn of the hospital from 5-7 p.m. If you would like to have
a photo, please bring your own camera. The tree lighting ceremony
will begin around 5:30 p.m.
This is the fourth year for ETMC to use its living Christmas tree,
which was planted as part of the Tree Tyler initiative, created by
Mayor Barbara Bass to promote tree conservation. Each year, an
ETMC-related patient with a special story serves as the hospital's