Bay Medical Sacred Heart holds Tree of Life ceremony

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Sometimes losing someone close to you, doesn't mean they're truly gone.

The Tree of Life ceremony was held at Bay Medical Sacred Heart in Panama City Thursday where families of organ, tissue, and eye donors could bring or make their own ornaments honoring their lost loved one.

The ornaments were hung on the tree alongside decorations from previous years' ceremonies.

For some families, the Tree of Life isn't just about celebrating the life their loved one lost, but also the one they gave.

Maria Sanchez, whose husband was an organ donor said, "The day that we got a letter from one of the recipients of the organs from my husband, it was a very emotional day because even that it was a terrible tragedy to lose my husband, still, I think he was an answered prayer to another family."

For others, they know their loved ones helped others any way they could.

"He served in the Army. I know he saved lots of lives then," said James Collins, whose father was an organ donor.

The Tree of Life will stay lit throughout December.