Clinton woman’s family fulfills her Festival of Trees vision in honor of grandson
CLINTON — Last July, Jana Wagstaff was busy purchasing decorations for this year’s Festival of Trees. She wanted to do it in honor of her grandson, Levi Snow, whom she lovingly refers to as “my little snowman.”
And then she got diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“My first thought, honestly, was, ‘Oh no. What am I going to do about my tree?'” she said. “But my family told me, ‘We gotcha, Mom. Don’t worry.'”
So Wagstaff and her family took the tree down to the Sandy Expo Center last week and decorated it with snowmen, ribbon, snowflakes and more.
“My mom couldn’t physically do it, but it was a blessing that she had already purchased everything she wanted to go on the tree,” said Wagstaff’s daughter, Bri Snow. “So we went down and she told us exactly where to place everything on the tree.”
Wagstaff has always loved to decorate Christmas trees. At Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital where she worked as a nurse for 30 years in labor and delivery, her department won nearly every competition.
“I grew up decorating trees, but nothing fancy like what you see at the Festival of Trees. And because my little grandson Levi has been treated so well at Primary Children’s Hospital, I wanted to give back to let them know how grateful we are for them and also pay tribute to Levi,” Wagstaff said. “It has been a labor of love.”
Levi, now 3 years old, was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus when he was around 2 months old, said Snow. The virus can cause complications such as hearing loss, mental disabilities, seizures, vision problems and trouble breathing. The toddler has been in and out of the children’s hospital multiple times.
The Festival of Trees is now running through Saturday at Mountain America Expo Center, 9575 State St. in Sandy. Over 500 trees, 100 wreaths and other items are available to bid on through a silent auction or to purchase in person or online at FestivalofTreesUtah.org.
Sponsored by the Intermountain Foundation and with the help of 80 community volunteers, the festival will also have nativities, gingerbread houses, quilts and more available to purchase.
Scones, live music, dance performances and a visit from Santa Claus will be part of the festival. Attendees will also be able to choose from 51 flavors of Festival of Trees fudge.
“We’re very grateful to our dedicated volunteers and for the continued community support of Festival of Trees that helps us meet the growing, more complex needs of children by strengthening and expanding the expertise of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital,” said the hospital’s CEO Katy Welkie.
All funds raised at the event support children in need at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital.
“It’s been a crazy year, but this has kept me going and kept me motivated,” Wagstaff said. “It’s always been part of my bucket list, and my diagnosis just gave me the fuel to do it this year and I’m very excited about it.”