Christmas came early to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital when Father Christmas took time out from his exhaustive schedule to spread some festive cheer during a surprise visit to the hospital at their annual Christmas Parade on 15 December 2016.
Christmas can be a very tough and emotional time of year for children and their families to spend in the hospital, but with the help of the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (FOCHA) and several donors, enough toys were collected to ensure that all patients received gifts from the jolly visitor.
“It is our aim to ensure that the little ones do not feel excluded while spending their time at our health facilities during the Christmas time, hence Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital saw it fitting to organise various activities to cheer our little patients up. We are not only about providing quality health care but we also value the human aspect of our job,” said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health.
The youngsters’ eyes lit up as Father Christmas appeared, complete with bright red suit and sparkly white beard, along with his helpers to hand them each a gift and pose for photographs.
“The best part about the holiday season is the spirit of giving. I have an exhaustive schedule, but this is the one visit that I make special effort for; therefore it is always scheduled ahead of Christmas Day. It is really enjoyable to see the children’s eyes light up when I walk through the door and is the best way to start my festive season,” said Father Christmas.
The fun began when Father Christmas arrived, escorted by the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Services.
The fun-filled parade also included other fun activities to keep the children entertained, such as the hugely popular animal petting zoo, a magic show, a puppet show, face painting and musical and dance items.
The Christmas Parade is the most looked forward to event on the hospital’s calendar and is enjoyed by patients and staff alike.
The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (FOCHA) believe that physical and emotional healing work simultaneously and rely on the generous support of donors to ensure that every patient receives a gift – for sick or injured children who spend days, weeks and sometimes months in hospital, being able to enjoy something that takes their mind off their condition, is very special and contributes to making the festive season at the hospital a memorable one.
“We are extremely grateful to KFM and all the entertainers that were part of the event today and everyone who donated Christmas gifts. It is wonderful to know that so many people open their hearts to help improve the experience of children in hospital over the festive season,” said Angelique Wagner, Communications Officer at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.