Mark Miller knows that the holiday season isn’t always a happy time of year. For parents of a sick child, it can be one of the hardest. Mark lost his daughter, 7½-year-old Mary Beth, in 2013. Mary Beth was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome. In her short life, she went through six open heart surgeries and 348 medical procedures. Throughout it all, Mark was by her side. After recalling how difficult those holidays in the hospital were, Mark wanted to do something for other parents going through it.
Mark’s mission was to bring a holiday staple to every patient at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. The hospital is where Mary Beth was often treated. He got together with his colleagues at Ace Hardware to put the idea in motion. Mark reached out to store owners, asking them to donate trees. Mark and his team received donation commitments for 285 trees from 25 store owners. They decided to create a makeshift tree farm at the hospital for the patients there.