Santa Claus paid a visit to the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital on Christmas Day to hand out gifts and spread Christmas cheer to children and their families who were unable to leave the hospital for the holiday.
Santa also had a special surprise to deliver to the seventh floor pediatric unit.
Special music, toys, and a jolly man with a red suit and white beard brought a little Christmas cheer to the hospital.
After Santa dropped off presents at kids’ homes on Christmas Eve, he made a personal visit to children spending the holidays in the pediatric unit.
“We’ve been here since November 28, so I know we haven’t been at home and we haven’t been discussing Christmas with him, but for him to come here today and just be with Santa is just a blessing for us so that’s everything that I could ever want,” says BJ Hayes, a father of a child in the hospital.
Santa handed out stuffed animals and games but he didn’t stop there.
“We hope we’re creating a memory for them,” says Santa.
He brought the children a new playroom with the help of Log a Load for Kids, just in time for Christmas.
“We got special permission to actually have Santa visit in the room today, and we are excited for the children to see it for the first time,” says Karin Skeen, who works at the hospital.
Log a Load for Kids was founded 30 years ago by loggers and paper companies to raise money for local children’s hospitals.
The new room officially opened on Monday, December 25, and will be a space where children can take a break from their hospital rooms and get a taste of the outdoors.
“I want to see these kids that are in this seventh floor to be able to when they go in here, however they get here – by wheelchair or walk – that they at least feel like they are a little bit outside with all the windows and with the trees and wood themes,” says Rich Palermo of Log a Load.
After receiving gifts and a playroom from Santa, children and their parents said the hospital felt a little more like home.
But parents also wanted to make sure their children realized the most important part of Christmas.
“The main thing I teach him is the lord and savior, today is God’s day, so that’s the most important thing to me,” says Hayes.
Santa said his visit to the UVA Children’s Hospital was extra special for him because he’s a pediatric doctor.
He and the volunteers at the hospital want to thank the community for donating gifts to make Christmas Day’s event possible.