Dundalk resident gives back to Kennedy Krieger
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 11:59

He donates tree to Festival of Trees event

by Ben Boehl

    You can’t kick off the holiday season without Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Festival of Trees. The event returns to the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium next Friday, Nov. 23. alt
    A man who is no stran-ger to the event is Dunglow Road resident Kevin DiLegge.
    DiLegge is a former Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI) student who receives outpatient services at the age of 23. He doesn’t just attend the Festival of Trees, he helps raise money by donating a tree of his own that goes up for bid.
    “This is to help all different types of kids,” DiLegge said. “It’s a lot of fun and there is a lot of things to do.”
    The Festival of Trees will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-25. The costs for admission is $13 for adults and $7 for children ages 5-12 and seniors. Children 4 and under are free.
    This is the fifth year DiLegge has decorated a tree for the event. This year’s theme is a Baltimore Orioles tree. Last year he won a Children’s Choice First Place award with his Baltimore Ravens tree (pictured). Other past trees include Wheel of Fortune and Margaritaville trees.
    DiLegge spends close to a year on designing the tree and loves that feeling he gets when his tree is sold.
    “It feels awesome,” DiLegge said.

The feeling gets better when his tree sells right away. DiLegge’s mother Mary said that her son’s trees have been sold every year before he arrives at the event and they hope that continues this year.
    “We have been very fortunate. We go on Friday afternoon and the event starts that morning,” Mary said. “His tree has been (sold) each time.”
    Jennifer Burke, Communications Coordinator at KKI, said that most trees are priced between $25 and $125, with all proceeds going back to KKI. Burke explained that they are fortunate to have the help and dedication of the DiLegge’s.
    “It’s important to understand we have (patients from) outpatient services and we are lucky to have them giving back to us,” Burke said.
    DiLegge said he enjoys this event and all that KKI has done for him over the years.
    “My doctors at  Kennedy Krieger get me into cool stuff,” DiLegge said.