Santa surprises families staying in Columbia hospital

Published: Dec. 24, 2014 at 10:15 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 3, 2015 at 10:53 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This morning, some Christmas cheer made its way to parents and young patients at a Columbia hospital. And even though they're in the hospital, the spirit of Christmas was not lost. Thanks to the staff at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital,

volunteers from the community, and the Columbia Fire Department, families having to stay at the hospital for Christmas will feel a little more at home.

People throughout the community donated gifts and families were able to do their Christmas shopping for free. The goal is to provide those families any semblance of normalcy because having a child in the hospital at Christmas can cause a parent to lose focus.

you're focused on so many other things.

"They have been so overwhelmed, " said Christy Fink with Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. "They have tried to give us the tickets back and say 'It's just all too much. Y'all are so good. We can't believe this.' We've seen a few tears and definitely lots of thank you's and lots of hugs and appreciation. And the community needs to know because they made it happen.”

Firefighters with the Columbia Fire Department wanted to add a surprise of their own. Santa Claus himself made an appearance on a ladder truck outside the hospital windows waving and smiling to the children. And the children returned those gestures ten-fold.

"Any little thing to help the families in the hospital, especially with kids spending their Christmas in the hospital," said Chris Branham with the Columbia Fire Department. "For us to give them a smile, making sure they have presents while they're here. And I mean anything helps. And to see a child smile, that's a Christmas blessing,”

This is the fourth year for the program. And when Santa came up on the fire ladder and delivered the presents to the children's rooms, their faces just lit up!

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