While Santa Claus gets ready for his trip around the world next week, he made some time in his schedule to visit children in five hospitals on Tuesday (Dec. 18).
Santa arrived at Surrey Memorial Hospital by helicopter on Tuesday afternoon before making his way down to the pediatric unit to visit with some of the children.
Santa said the hospital stops were important because the children need to know that they haven’t been forgotten.
“Santa knows exactly where they are, and Rudolph will find them on Christmas Eve,” he said to reassure the patients.
The annual hospital visits, he said, are “probably the most important thing that Santa does in the entire year.”
Kathryn Reid, one of Santa’s elves who also works for BC Ambulance’s infant transport team, said it’s really nice to see the children “a little bit happier.”
This was Reid’s first time getting to fly with Santa.
“Everybody’s so happy and everybody’s such a big kid when they see Santa.”
For Navi Purma, a registered nurse who works at the hospital, she said it was “amazing” to see how happy the kids were with Santa’s visit.
“I’m smiling from ear to ear,” Purma said. “I can’t imagine what the kids are feeling, but it’s truly amazing.”
Purma said it’s important for the staff and nurses in the pediatric unit to make the children and parents feel like they’re not missing out at home while they have to stay at the hospital.
“It’s important for us here to make their Christmas away from home as memorable as possible. It’s tough being sick over the holidays, and then especially being admitted to the hospital,” she said.
Santa made four other stops on Tuesday, including Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver and New Westminster. Helijet and BC Emergency Health Services teamed up to fly Santa by BC Air Ambulance helicopter to and from each hospital to deliver presents and Christmas cheer to the kids, according to a media release.
“All of us at Helijet are happy to have this opportunity to help make the holiday season special for these courageous kids and their families, who find themselves in hospital instead of at home as Christmas Day approaches,” said Danny Sitnam, president and CEO of Helijet.