EDMONTON -- A St. Albert non-profit has been forced to rebuild their holiday display after thieves damaged it.

The "Lighting the Way" display is a major fundraiser for the St. Albert and Sturgeon Hospice Society (SASHA). Donors can buy a bulb or sponsor a full tree to support compassionate and palliative care in the city.

It is set up outside Foyer Lacombe Hospice, a facility with 10 hospice beds and 12 long-term care suites. The display is meant to be a message of support for end-of-life patients and their families and provides a festive view for residents.

The display was lit up on Sunday and the lights were stolen on Monday night. 

"I thought this was kind of a sacred place, so I was shocked," organizer LuAnne Sirdiak told CTV News Edmonton. "Somebody needed them worse than we did I guess."

Sirdiak estimates that it could cost up to $5,000 to replace the stolen lights, money that should be going to community programs.

She said the volunteer-run foundation is working with the installers to get the display repaired this weekend.

New donations have come in since people found out about the theft. The fundraiser has already exceeded its $25,000 goal.

"I don't know if the people who took the lights knew the purpose of the lights," Sirdiak said. "We never dreamt this would be an issue."

"Lighting the Way" will be up until Jan. 31, 2021. People can safely enjoy the display by driving through the parking lot of Foyer Lacombe Hospice at 1 St. Vital Avenue in St. Albert.