December 25, 2012
Santa took a break from his sleigh and made his way to UVa. Children's Hospital in an ambulance Tuesday morning to surprise kids who weren't able to spend Christmas at home this year.
Santa and his crew pushed a stretcher full of toys room to room, stopping to chat with patients like Thomas George, who just celebrated his first Christmas.
"He brought Thomas a lot of gifts and got his picture taken with him," said Charles George, Thomas' father. "That was very exciting."
It's not home, but the Georges were grateful to spend Christmas morning at the hospital.
"I'm just glad that he's here where he can get the care he needs," said Charles.
Leai Vanmeter also got a visit from Santa. Leai has been getting cared for at the hospital while she waits for a liver transplant, but Santa didn't forget her or her siblings.
Just hours before they got their special deliveries, they got an even better gift -- news that they get to head back to Old Fields, West Virginia.
"We come to find out that we get to go home today," said Heather Vanmeter, Leai's mother. "That just kind of brightened everything."
After spreading cheer to the outpatients, Santa made his way to the neonatal intensive care unit. That's where Jackson Aliff spent his first Christmas. It's not the ideal place to celebrate the holiday, but Jackson's family is making the most of it.
"There's no place like home, but this has become our home for the last three months," said Jackson's mom Cheyenne.
The hospital's Pegasus flight crew has made the surprise visit possible for more than two decades. Students from the UVa. School of Nursing provided all the presents.