It was the 25th year for the tradition, but the illuminated living tree has been part of the festivities since it was planted three years ago as part of a Tyler tree initiative, headed by Mayor Barbara Bass, according to a news release from ETMC.
Each year, a patient with a special story has the honor of lighting the tree. This year, the distinction went to Whitehouse fourth-grader Jason Ackery.
According to ETMC, Ackerly has type 1 diabetes, which causes his body not to produce insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy for daily life. Only 5 percent of people with diabetes have this form. Ackerly attended the ETMC Diabetes Boot Camp for kids with the disease.
When he grows up, Ackerly said he wants to be a doctor who helps children with diabetes.
He is the son of Liisa and Paul Acklerly, has a twin sister named Michelle and has two older sisters, Kayla and Kristina.
The Brook Hill Lower School Cadet Singers provided musical entertainment during the event under the direction of Kelly Simmon.