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Family uses Festival of Trees to turn their loss into hope

By Kathy Aiken | Posted - Dec. 3, 2010 at 10:30 p.m.


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SANDY - Thousands of trees have been displayed over the 40 years The Festival of Trees has raised money for Primary Children's Hospital and each has a story.

This year one tree stands just four feet tall, but it's much bigger than the boy it was decorated for. It would have been Rex Stuart's favorite tree of all because it's filled with his favorite character, Buzz Light Year.

"We knew Rex's time was coming to a close and it was getting to be the holidays and we thought what a great way to pay tribute to him and Primary Children's Medical Center that helped him in the journey they've been on," said Rex's aunt, Janet Randall.

The Stuart's journey was a difficult one. Rex was diagnosed with brain cancer eight months ago. He passed away two and a half weeks ago, just a few short weeks after his baby sister was born. So the extended family decided to turn their "hopelessness" into "healing".

"It's just a really sad thing for these families to go through and it was such a bonding thing for our family to go through this experience so we thought this was a great way to give back some," said Randall.

Members of the Stuart's extended family stitched, sewed, and decorated the little tree, hoping to raise money for someone else's child at Primary Children's Medical Center.

"It might bring some closure a little bit it's still so fresh for them," said Rex's aunt, Suzie Beck. "But almost every other tree someone has passed away or they're honoring the hospital that helped them, it just may be a way to give back a little bit."

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E-mail: kaiken@ksl.com

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Kathy Aiken

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