On Wednesday, the Children’s Hospital Boston held its annual Virtual Santa event, during which some of the sickest children of the city had an opportunity to speak with Santa, who was beamed in from the North Pole. “You kids have been on my ‘nice’ list for a long time,” Santa told them. More than 75 children got to talk to Santa on the video chat, first in the hospital’s play area, and then in the oncology ward for those who could not leave their rooms.
“To have a brief talk with Santa is a magical moment for the kids,” explained Patrick Regan, the enterprise account manager for healthcare at Cisco Systems, the company which provides the video technology and the Santa for the event. “It means the world. We help to heal them, physically and emotionally,” said Kirsten Getchell, a child life specialist at the hospital.
The event is helpful for the staff as well. “You get to see the kids smile when they haven’t smiled all day- and to see them as children, as people, not just as patients,” Getchell said. The experience reminds the staff what they are working for, and helps them from getting discouraged during their work.