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School of Medicine launches Holiday Healing Tree campaign

Pictured: John Stathopoulos, first recipient of the Kensley Fuller Scholarship (left) and
Jillian Fuller, Kensley's mother (right)

The School of Medicine has launched The Holiday Healing Tree campaign to help those grieving the loss of a loved one and raise money for scholarships.

The Holiday Healing Tree is an 18-foot Christmas tree located on the grounds of the University of South Carolina School of Medicine VA campus. The tree was donated by The Fuller Family Foundation, partnering with SC Internal Medicine help to support the Kensley Fuller Endowed Scholarship Fund.

For just $20 you can purchase a light on the Healing Tree to honor the life and memory of a loved one you have lost. All gifts are tax deductible and benefit the Kensley Fuller Endowed Scholarship.

The scholarship was established by Dr. Sean Fuller, M.D., ’95, and wife Jillian in memory of their daughter Kensley or “Keke” -- as she was known -- who passed away four years ago at the age of six. The fund currently provides a four-year scholarship of $20,000 ($5,000 per year) to medical students.

“The desire of every parent who loses a child is that their child isn’t forgotten. There’s never a time that I forget KeKe is gone, for someone to just say her name makes me feel good inside,” Jillian Fuller says. “That’s why I thought the Holiday Healing Tree was a good way to honor KeKe and others. It’s a way to do something small to remember a loved one and support a good cause during what can be a tough time of year.”

John Stathopoulos, a fourth year medical student, was the first student to receive the Kensley Fuller Scholarship.

“Because of the situation, receiving the scholarship was really an honor,” Stathopoulos says. “I have my parents and my family that I want to make proud, but now I have a second family that I want to make proud.”

The campaign’s goal is to light at least 2,000 bulbs on the tree and to raise $40,000 by December 13, but, in total, there are 4,550 light bulbs on the tree, and the School of Medicine would ultimately love to see each light represent someone’s loved one who has passed.

The campaign will come to an end on Dec. 13, culminating with a special candlelight memorial service on the evening of Dec. 14 (Thursday), during which time the names of each person represented on the tree will be recognized and read aloud. The service will take place from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the site of the tree.

To learn more, visit

November 14th, 2017