The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

December 19, 2013

Santa calls in from the North Pole to Janet Weis Children's Hospital

DANVILLE — Sick children across Geisinger Health System had personal conversations with Santa Claus this week during the sixth annual SantaCam event.

On Monday and Wednesday, Santa’s “head elves” visited kids in their hospital rooms and let them have a personal conversation with “Santa,” using an iPad that gave them some face to face time with Saint Nick himself. About 60 children from Danville’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, aged from a few weeks to 18, got to speak to Santa. In a new expansion to the project introduced this year, seven children from Geisinger Wyoming Valley also got a personal message from Father Christmas.

“The kids love it,” said Kelly Hammaker, of the Parent and Family Care Center. Parents are also a big fan of the Santa visit, she said. “Their child might be in the hospital for two to three weeks (during the holidays) and the normal thing to do is go see Santa.”

Hammaker has been working with the Janet Weis Children’s Hospital’s Child Life Services team, who is the organizer of the SantaCam event every year.

The idea started with Mary Tiffin, manager of integrated technology and social web service for Janet Weis, as a way to let sick kids and their parents celebrate the holidays while at the hospital. “We wanted to bring the Santa experience to them,” Tiffin said. “Visits to Santa have been the same today as they have in decades past. They continue to bring the joy and wonder of the season to children.”

Wyoming Valley was added to the program this year due to the facility’s expanded pediatric services. “Santa realized that there were several patients from that hospital whose list he was missing,” Tiffin said. “So he sent his elves to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley to find those little children to remind them to address their letters to Santa.”

The SantaCam program will expand as needed in the future, based on the number of pediatric patients at other Geisinger hospitals. “We want to provide every child the opportunity to experience the time worn tradition of a visit with Santa and the quintessential joy of the holiday, no matter their location,” Tiffin said.

One of the children visited by Santa and his elves at Janet Weis was Lia Hart, 6, of Montoursville. She got to have a heart-to-heart with Santa about what she wanted for Christmas and how she’s been a good girl this year. “It was a big surprise,” said her father, Brian Hart, who wasn’t expecting the Santa visit. “It’s pretty cool, she enjoyed it.”

He and his wife, Amy, hope to be able to bring their daughter home on Saturday after she finishes up chemotherapy treatment.

Children visited by the elves also each received a stuffed animal. Lia got a teddy bear, whom she quickly named Cuddles.

“We thought this year’s SantaCam went great,” Tiffin said. “The joy that it brings to the children in the Hospital is a gift to all those who participate. And the gift of spreading joy and wonder is truly what the season is all about.”

 

1
Text Only
The Danville News
  • Danville parents hope strike ends quickly

    DANVILLE ““ First-grader Madison Wild was sad she missed school Thursday.

    April 19, 2014

  • Danville teachers to continue strike

    DANVILLE – Officials of the Danville Area School District and Danville Education Association confirmed Friday the teachers’ strike will continue through April 25.

    April 18, 2014

  • Vo-tech helping family

    ESPY – The Columbia Montour AVTS is sponsoring a benefit spaghetti dinner for the Dissinger family from 4 to 7 p.m. April 25 at 5050 Sweppenheiser Drive. Three members of the family died in a Rush Township fire April 4.

    April 18, 2014

  • picket18a.jpg DEA rep: District’s last offer lower

    DANVILLE — The most recent salary and benefits proposal by the Danville school board to the Danville Education Association came in lower than previous offers, according to DEA labor representative Mark McDade.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • xcdh18a.jpg Kin marks newborn's advances through illness

    LIBERTY TWP. — Lahlynn Bingaman smiles, is very alert and sleeps in a crib.
    She’s been at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since being born there two months ago.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • xdrugawa18c.jpg Drug battle begins with public education

    DANVILLE – Rep. Kurt Masser, local police and school district leaders discussed Wednesday what community members can expect to learn at an upcoming drug awareness program.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Danville Arts Council fundraiser nets nearly $2,000

    DANVILLE — Last week’s inaugural fundraiser for the Danville Arts Council was a “tremendous success,” according to council chairman Scott Richardson.

    April 18, 2014

  • xeggs18ac.jpg Volunteers color 90 dozen eggs for big day

    DANVILLE — Fire company volunteers colored 1,080 eggs or 90 dozen eggs Wednesday in preparation for the annual Goodwill Hose Company Easter egg hunt Saturday.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Danville Sports