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TikTokers organize record-breaking bid on a Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees

Dec 1, 2021, 2:40 PM | Updated: 2:41 pm
Portrait of Jocelyn Ducharme at the 2021 Intermountain Foundation Festival of Trees Photo: Intermou...
Portrait of Jocelyn Ducharme at the 2021 Intermountain Foundation Festival of Trees Photo: Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and Intermountain Foundation

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah TikTok influencers rallied their social media network to raise a record-breaking bid of $50,000 for the Festival of Trees this year.

TikTok influencers’ fundraising efforts for a special Christmas tree

The bid rallied by JT and Brooklyn Laybourne was the highest the festival has seen in its 51 years, and it was all in honor of Jocelyn Ducharme, a young girl who passed away from brain cancer earlier this year.

Across the married couple’s two TikTok pages, their videos reach over 2 million followers. 

@jt_laybourneThe time has come… ALL our love for @team_jocelyn ##GivingSzn ##teamjocelyn♬ original sound – JT

For over two hours the Laybournes went live on TikTok calling for donations. They set a goal of $30,000 for Jocelyn’s tree. 

After only 37 minutes, the couple met and surpassed their goal. 

@jt_laybourne##duet with @team_jocelyn Here’s Jocelyn’s tree 😭 Donations are now live 🙏 ##GivingSzn ##teamjocelyn 💝 ##GiveWithAllYourHeart♬ Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Michael Bublé

In 2 hours, the TikTokers reached the goal of $50,000. According to a statement from Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and Intermountain Foundation, the money raised crushed the festival’s fundraising record. The previous record was $27,000.

Jocelyn’s parents, Katelynn and Josh Ducharme, joined in the fundraising. They encouraged their audience to donate to the bid on the tree titled, “A Christmas for Jocelyn.”

7’6″ Christmas tree donated by CCD volunteers at PCH, and decorated by Julia Saxton. Photo: Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital and Intermountain Foundation

Over the course of the live video, they answered questions and shared fond memories of Jocelyn. Intermountain noted, that even some special guests, including the Jazz Bear, joined in.

@team_jocelynHead over to @jt_laybourne to register for tonight’s live! Help us get this tree in our home 😭♥️ ##teamjocelyn ##childloss ##christmas♬ Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – Michael Bublé

The Laybournes are not the first TikTokers to draw attention to Jocelyn’s story. Her mother and Ogden-native, Katelynn Ducharme, has been using the social media app for years to tell her daughter’s story.

Jocelyn’s TikTok community

Ducharme hosts a TikTok account called Team_Jocelyn. She released her first TikTok on September 9, 2019 in honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. The TikTok included video of her daughter in the hospital, smiling brightly. 

@team_jocelynSeptember is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 💛🎗 ##childhoodcancerawareness ##braintumorawarness ##fighter♬ original sound – Katelynn Ducharme

 

Jocelyn was diagnosed with brain cancer on May 10, 2019. The cancer was Atypical Teratoid/Rhabdoid Tumor. The national cancer institute defines AR/TR as “rare, fast-growing cancer that usually forms in the tissues of the central nervous system.” This cancer typically occurs in children 3 years and younger. 

For 10 months, Jocelyn fought her cancer and was treated at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, and later declared cancer-free. But on July 13, 2020, she was diagnosed once again at 2-and-half years old. Just over two months before her 4th birthday, Jocelyn Ducharme passed away. 

Since the release of that first video, the Ducharme’s TikTok account has gained 1.7 million followers. People who follow Katelynn and her partner, Josh, see videos describing their experience with loss of their young daughter and how they move on by celebrating her life. 

@team_jocelynWe will also try live streaming the vigil on here & Insta for those out of state 🖤🕯##teamjocelyn ##childhoodcancerawareness ##childloss♬ see you later (ten years) – Jenna Raine

Jocelyn was born on December 3, 2017. She passed away on September 28, 2021.

The Ducharmes remain committed to using their platforms for community building around those with children suffering from cancer and those who have lost children. The Ducharmes indicate their participation in this year’s Festival of Trees is an extension of that and a way to commemorate their daughter.

Intermountain Foundation’s Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees is a four-day fundraising event benefitting the Primary Children’s Hospital. Volunteers from the Utah community create and donate holiday décor such as Christmas trees, wreaths, gingerbread houses, and more. The donated items are then made available via the Festival’s Online Auction and Gift boutique. 

This year, a Christmas tree was donated and decorated in honor of Jocelyn by Julia Saxton. 

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