Santa Claus was the highlight of the day for many kids at Victoria General Hospital, as the big ‘man in red’ handed out stuffed animals at several BC hospitals Tuesday morning.
He arrived via HeliJet with an elf and large bag of stuffed animals in tow.
“I can’t cure them, but I can certainly bring a little happiness and a little teddy bear would be nice too,” said Santa.
Lily Lecinana, 10, has been back and forth between Vancouver and Victoria since April, fighting stage-four Burkitt lymphoma, a rare fast-growing type of leukemia. The Sooke girl noted that she’s had to deal with tumours in her stomach.
She was ecstatic to receive a teddy bear but noted that she has her eyes on a Nintendo Switch for Christmas.
Now, she’s on the mend and was at the hospital getting blood work done, waiting for her white blood cell count to increase. The higher the number is, the lower the risk of infection.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see all of these young patients as their faces light up and they visit with Santa,” said Ray Sims, a BC Ambulance Service paramedic. He’s been transporting young children to and from BC Children’s Hospital for 43 years.
“When these children are sick and at their most vulnerable periods, we fly them where they need to be to take care of them. To see them today is just awesome.”
Santa continued to drop by Nanaimo Regional Hospital, BC Children’s Surrey Memorial, and Royal Columbian for the rest of Tuesday.