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This holiday tree got the highest bid in history at Utah’s Festival of Trees fundraiser

‘A Christmas for Jocelyn’ drew a bid of $50,000, with help from social-media influencers.

(Intermountain Healthcare) "A Christmas for Jocelyn," a tree decorated to pay tribute to Jocelyn Marie Ducharme, a 3-year-old cancer patient who died on Sept. 28, 2021, has received a bid of $50,000 at Utah's Festival of Trees — the most a single tree has ever earned in the 51-year history of the fundraiser for Intermountain Primary Children's Hospital.

With the help of a pair of Utah social media influencers, a Festival of Trees entry paying tribute to a 3-year-old girl who died of cancer has garnered an auction bid of $50,000 — the most money a single tree has raised in the festival’s 51-year history.

The tree, “A Christmas for Jocelyn,” was donated by volunteers at the Intermountain Foundation of Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and designed and decorated by Julie Saxton, in honor of Jocelyn Marie Ducharme — a young cancer patient who died on Sept. 28. This Friday, Dec. 3, would have been Jocelyn’s fourth birthday.

The tree caught the attention of influencers J.T. and Brooklyn Laybourne, who went live on their TikTok network for two hours Tuesday night, according to a news release from Primary Children’s Hospital — the recipient of Festival of Trees’ fundraising.

The Laybournes initially set a goal of a $30,000 bid in the silent auction, which would have broken the old record of $27,000. That goal was hit within 37 minutes, so the Laybournes set a new goal of $50,000, which was reached some time Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

During the two-hour plea, the Laybournes introduced their network to Jocelyn’s parents, Katelynn and Josh Ducharme — who chronicled Joselyn’s case, and now the grieving process, on an Instagram account. The Ducharmes answered questions and shared memories of their daughter.

The Laybournes even roped in a celebrity: Bear, the mascot of the Utah Jazz.

The volunteers who donated the tree loaded it with goodies: A voucher for the Disneyland Resort in California (good for four two-day Park Hopper passes and a hotel stay), a $500 gift card for Delta Air Lines, a Megaplex gift card and several Lego sets.

Festival of Trees continues through Saturday, online at FestivalOfTreesUtah.org.

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