Photo (Left to right): Yuki Lopez, Anne Trenaman, Patti Wiggans, Dr. Michelle Sherwood
The holidays are an exciting time for young and old alike. Gathering with family and friends, attending school or community events, baking and eating treats, and, for many kids, anticipating the arrival of Santa.
But what if you happen to be in hospital on Christmas Eve? While Lions Gate Hospital (LGH) pediatrics staff do their best to make sure kids in their care can be home for the holidays, there are situations that require some patients to stay in hospital over Christmas.
And this is where, with a dash of holiday magic, the pediatrics team takes action to make sure the kids they are caring for have a special Christmas morning. With support from the Starlight Foundation and Toys"R"Us, staff purchase gifts according to the ages of children in the hospital over Christmas and wrap them in festive finery.
The team also sponsors a former patient and their family who have been identified as needing assistance, and delivers gifts to their home. Nurses Louise Byron, Earl Escarcha and Sheila McFadden will be doing the delivery and spreading the joy of Christmas this season.
“It’s so heart-warming to see how staff go above and beyond to make the holidays special for kids who have to stay at Lions Gate over Christmas and also help a family in the community,” says Anne Trenaman, pediatrics patient care coordinator. “They do this on their own time and contribute their own resources, and it’s a great example of the spirit of caring and kindness that makes this team so remarkable year-round.”
It’s also a meaningful day for staff who play the role of North Pole elves.
“I really enjoy playing ‘Santa’s helper’,” says nurse Louise Byron. “Many of us are away from our own families on this day, which can be hard, but to bring a little joy to a child who is sick or injured and help make sure they don’t miss out on the magic of Christmas is a great feeling.”