A Miller Children’s patient shows off her new LBFD t-shirt with members of the Long Beach Fire Department and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
The Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD) teamed up with jolly St. Nick to surprise patients at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach on Wednesday, Dec. 16. More than 50 firefighters came together to assemble gift bags stuffed with LBFD t-shirts, candy canes, lightsabers and other fun goodies to hand out to unsuspecting patients. With Mr. and Mrs. Claus leading the way, and the impromptu LBFD elves in tow, the entire Christmas team made its way down the halls of Miller Children’s to deliver their holiday gifts.
Floor-by-floor, patients were awakened to a jingle of bells and a hearty “ho, ho” as Kris Kringle stood in the doorway of patients’ rooms, and smiles slowly crept on the faces of stunned children. As children’s opened their gift bags, a brief conversation on this year’s Christmas must-haves took place between patients, Santa and parents casually listening in.
Members of LBFD also joined Santa to wish patients happy holidays – doubling patients’ excitement. In one instance, a Miller Children’s patient was able to meet three of his heroes: Santa Claus and the very two LBFD paramedics who helped save his life.
“We love bringing Santa and trying to bring the Christmas cheer to patients,” says Greg Curiel, LBFD Fire Captain. “We’ve been doing this for 18 years, and we look forward to it each time.”
“We love LBFD,” says Rita Goshert, manager, Child Life Program. “It’s such a special day for patients and their families. Having Santa Claus visit is the highlight of their day, and helps make their hospital stay a little more bearable, especially during the holiday season.”
The event, put on by the LBFD Kids Program, gives patients the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season despite not being able to take part in festivities in the comfort of their own homes. The LBFD Santa visit takes a unique approach to offering patients a special in-hospital holiday experience. The mission of LBFD Kids is to enhance the lives and well-being of the children at Miller Children’s by bringing smiles and happiness.
The LBFD Santa visit is organized by the Child Life Program at Miller Children’s. The goal of this event is to keep patients encouraged and in good spirits throughout the holiday season.
The Child Life Program coordinates uplifting special events to ensure that patients receive not only proper care but the most positive experience during their stay.