An Abilene hospice center works to give the gift of free services.

A heavy topic many may not want to talk about is end of life care.

A fundraiser opened the door for discussion with a hospice center that’s hoping to ease the burden.

Melissa Luton is the community outreach manager for Hendrick Hospice Center.

“Something that’s very uncomfortable, but it’s very important,” Luton said.

She is creating ornaments for a tree at the Mall of Abilene.

Shoppers can purchase one to represent a loved one that’s passed away.

But, they’re also ‘lighting up’ another life with their donation.

“We utilize it for patients that may be underinsured or have no insurance at all,” Luton said.

The center provides medical needs for people with life threatening illnesses at no cost.

“The last thing Hendrick Hospice Care wants them to have to worry about is the cost of healthcare,” Luton said.

Their yearly fundraiser is what makes this possible.

“This is truly a gift that we can give patients in family at this time when they’re dealing with something so difficult,” Luton said.

Teresa Baucum spends hours volunteering at their ‘Light up a Life’ campaign each year.

She said that as a funeral home worker she sees the need.

“We get a lot of families that come in that their families have been in hospice care for several months and if they would have had to pay for that out of pocket it would have been very expensive,” Baucum said.

Over 1,000 families receive hospice care at their facilities every year.

That is just a portion of the 1.5 million Americans living with a life-limiting illness.

The tree will be lit for those being remembered, and those in need of support through December.