On Tuesday, Dec. 11, a jolly “Ho, Ho, Ho” could be heard throughout the halls of MemorialCare Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach as Santa, along with Long Beach Fire Chief, Xavier Espino, and members of the Long Beach Fire Department, made their way around the hospital surprising patients.
Armed with candy canes and goodie bags, they stopped at each patient room to deliver gifts and inspire holiday spirit. A holiday sing-along even broke out in one of the units when Santa and several firefighters stumbled upon a group of patients in a rehabilitation therapy session.
“This is a special event for us and the kids really love Santa,” says Greg Curiel, captain, Long Beach Fire Department. “We know it can be tough on families spending time in the hospital during the holidays. We really just want to bring some normalcy to the hospital and make it a special experience for the kids, no matter how long or short their stay.”
This long-standing tradition is coordinated by LBFDKids and the Child Life Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s. LBFDKids was established in 1997 to enhance the lives and well-being of the children at Miller Children’s & Women’s, by bringing smiles and laughter through special events and activities.
“The magic of Santa is real,” says Rita Goshert, manager, Child Life Program, Miller Children’s & Women’s. “A patient can be having a bad day or even week, and just spending a few minutes with Santa and special visitors can turn that around.”
The Child Life Program at Miller Children’s & Women’s tries to make the hospital experience a positive one for patients during the holidays by partnering with community organizations like the Long Beach Fire Department to provide unique holiday experiences.
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