By Rachel Buckley
As patients headed toward Children’s Hospital Boston’s family center yesterday morning, their excitement was hard to deny. Will’s sister Ashley pushed his wheelchair a little faster than normal, Devaun held his father’s hand extra tight and Isabel would barely stay in her carriage. Long lines and big crowds may be unavoidable this time of year, but this was one line that no one seemed to mind.
And with good reason; after all, it’s not every day a child gets the chance to video-chat with Santa.
Thanks to a video feed installed by Cisco Systems, Santa was able to take time out of his busy day to talk with patients, some here for the day and others who had been inpatients for weeks. But regardless of what brought them to Children’s, once the kids saw Santa smiles and laughs quickly became all they thought about.
Being hospitalized for the holidays is hard on patients and their families, but for many kids with medical concerns it’s a part of life. To help make this time of year a little more special Children’s host events like the Cisco Santa video-chat, which lightens everyone’s spirits and makes the hospital feel a little more like home.
Every year, families spend the holidays at Children’s Hospital Boston, and every year Children’s works hard to bring a little bit of home to the hospital so the holidays can feel as normal as possible. This year has been no exception, with trick or treating on Halloween, home-cooked meals on Thanksgiving and celebrations of Hanukkah, Christmas and Dawali (more on those celebrations tomorrow on Thrive). Yesterday, our patients even had a chance to chat virtually with Santa Claus thanks to a great annual program by the Cisco Systems. Check out the media coverage of the event, with stories by Reuters, Boston’s WHDH TV station and the IDG News Service. Also check out more pictures from the event in this photo gallery.
Every year, thousands of children and their families spend holidays at Children’s Hospital Boston, separated from family and friends, and not able to take part in the activities and traditions they look forward to all year long. Over the next few months, we’re going to share the stories of a few of these families and highlight the things Children’s does to make holidays away from home as enjoyable as possible for our families.
Today we start with Halloween, the holiday many kids miss the most when they’re stuck in the hospital. “Our patients always remember the year they had to miss trick or treating because they were here,” says Beth Donegan-Driscoll, director of Child Life Services. “So we try to bring as much Halloween spirit to the hospital as we can.”
As you’ll see in the video above, shot at different events throughout the hospital, the Halloween spirit was alive and well this week.
Have you had to spend a holiday at a hospital? Tell us your story in the comments section below.