Castle Hill Christmas Installation: Sponsorship Supports Holidays at Childrens Hospital

Every year, Institution for Savings underwrites our annual holiday installation at Castle Hill during the Christmas and New Year season. Their support allows Bright Happy Power, whose volunteers create this installation, to allocate those funds to a week of Polar Express Christmas fun for oncology and transplant patients at Childrens Hospital Boston. We remember what it was like to spend holidays in the hospital!

We sponsored installations for a World Tree (Tree of Life) mythology winding up the stairwell in the Great House at the Crane Estate/Castle Hill. Additionally, we worked on bringing to life the Christmas legend of the poinsettia from Mexico, the lunar new year and lion dancer stories from China, and winter myths in a polar room featuring stories illustrated by Haida artists and other tales brought to life by Inuit writers and artists.

Greening the Great House

This year, we continued the annual tradition of decorating the Great House at the Crane Estate for Christmas, filling it with origami paper cranes and other hand-crafted paper-based decorations. The theme this year was a vintage Christmas, so we featured many 1920s Christmas portraits and card images. These included children and families surrounding Christmas trees, flappers dancing, Harlem men and women in fur coats, and young immigrants gathered around an Ellis Island Christmas tree, among many images. Light-hearted vintage Christmas images also made an appearance: dogs and cats, sleighs and snowmen, and Santa (of course).

Volunteers helped prepare and hang these historic images in the Grand Staircase. We thank the Trustees of Reservations for welcoming our exhibit at the annual Christmas open house at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA. That exhibit is underwritten by the Institution for Savings, whose sponsorship then allows us to fund and organize this Polar Express event at Children’s Hospital Boston.

About the Childrens Hospital Event: In early December, patients and families at Childrens Hospital Boston enjoy the start of a week-long winter festival that highlights the Christmas book Polar Express. The event also includes several days of interactive holiday crafts and activities, and culminates with distribution of “Believe” brass sleigh bells.

Decorating at Castle Hill Brings Holidays to the Hospital

Every year we decorate with origami cranes, hand-folded by local volunteers, for Christmas at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, a Trustees of Reservations property in Ipswich, MA.

Each year, the stately home with its sweeping grounds, overlooking  Plum Island Sound and Atlantic Ocean, tantalizes visitors with Christmas-themed lights and flourishes. Several florists and decorators volunteer to create customized arrangements and vignettes in the historic rooms on the first and second floors. Visitors can imagine sitting down at the dining table,  stepping into a veritable wonderland, or slipping upstairs for a private moment in the bedroom. Fresh floral creativity and decorative installations draw out the holiday theme. Every year, our organization decorates the grand staircase.

This year we’re welcoming “Christmas by the Sea.” Bright Happy Power is filling the grand staircase with starfish, flowing currents of ribbon, air bubbles, and a swirl of paper birds. Watch for photos!

This installation is sponsored by Institution for Savings. Their underwriting of the Christmas event at Castle Hill allows Bright Happy Power to provide winter holiday programming at Children’s Hospital Boston. The hospital’s holiday program — kick-started by Bright Happy Power and inspired by the book and  movie Polar Express — has become a hospital-wide event during December. From the original one-day party on the oncology and stem cell/bone marrow transplant wings, it has expanded to several days of festive activities and is celebrated throughout the hospital’s inpatient units.

This hospital holiday event, funded by the sponsorship of our installation at Castle Hill, brings hope and happiness  to pediatric patients and their families during the winter season! What a wonderful trade-off: our volunteers spend a few days  decorating for Christmas, in turn Bright Happy Power provides the launch-point for a much-cherished holiday celebration at the hospital! One specialists calls it her favorite week of the year at the hospital.

Every paper bird folded, every dollar donated, and every wish bell delivered … makes a difference to children and families who need the opportunity to BELIEVE!


Zoo Day

Bright Happy Power is bringing a handful of volunteers to the hospital to host an event called Zoo Day. Patients and sibs can stuff their own animals, enjoy crafts and snacks, and take a break from life on treatment. Builds morale and emotional resilience.

Upcoming Events with Bright Happy Power

Bright Happy Power has several upcoming events.

  1. Monday, April 16, Jessie’s sister Sarah Doktor will volunteer in a medical tent at the Boston Marathon. Sarah has pursued a career in nursing, inspired by her younger sister’s journey with childhood cancer, as well as her work with various populations in the field of emergency medicine and public health.
    Our family’s connection to the Boston Marathon goes back to 2002, the first year that Dr William Tan, a wheelchair athlete from Singapore, partnered with Jessie to compete in the Marathon and raise funds for Childrens Hospital Boston. He continued to race every year, and notably carried Jessie across the finish line on his lap in his regular push chair one year.  He shared his medals with Jessie, her sister Sarah. Ironically, Dr. Tan was diagnosed with leukemia, and spent time undergoing chemo, radiation and a successful bone marrow transplant, before once more returning to the United States for several years to compete again in the Marathon.Other athletes have also raced in honor of and memory of Jessie, raising funds for Mass General Hospital and Dana Farber.
  2. In June 2018, Sarah Doktor, co-founder of Bright Happy Power, will host an event for cancer and transplant patients at Childrens Hospital Boston with volunteers with food, crafts, and games. The theme is “zoo day”.
  3. In August 2018, Chris Doktor and Sarah Doktor will ride again in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and treatment. Click on their names to support their rides. They have been riding as a father-daughter team for 10 years. They now ride as part of Team Kermit.

Boston Marathon

For several years, wheelchair athlete Dr William Tan and several runners such as Jason Wertz have participated in the Boston Marathon in celebration of Jessie’s life and to help with fundraising for Bright Happy Power and local area hospitals such as Mass General and Childrens Hospital Boston. We have been partners in the Boston Marathon since 2008.

Floating Wish Lanterns

Volunteers fold wax paper boats in which we place tealights and handwritten wishes to float out onto the darkened Ipswich River. Annually we float about 500 wishes out onto the river. Look for the event again this autumn in Ipswich, MA.