Lower Mainland boys and girls got an early taste of Christmas when Helijet and the BC Ambulance Service flew Santa Claus to Royal Columbian and BC Children’s Hospitals to deliver presents and Christmas cheer to the kids on the hospitals’ pediatric wards.
Joining Santa on his annual visit to Royal Columbian Hospital and Victoria General Hospital were Helijet President and CEO Danny Sitnam and Ross Hallaway, an infant transport team paramedic with BC Ambulance Service. New this year was an additional stop at BC Children’s Hospital, the province’s largest hospital for children and adolescents. The chance to meet Santa and enjoy an early Christmas gift was a welcome distraction for the young patients, many of whom won’t be home for the holidays this year.
“Each year, our dedicated staff works closely with the BC Ambulance Service to provide 24/7 helicopter service for hundreds of critically ill patients across BC, many of them children,” said Sitnam. “We recognize that not everyone can be home for the holidays, so all of us at Helijet are happy to have this opportunity to help make the Christmas season special for these courageous kids and their parents.”
For the paramedics and flight crews that transport children during medical emergencies, the hospital visits with Santa are a unique opportunity to interact with the children in a much happier environment.
“Paramedics often meet children and their families under stressful circumstances – when a loved one is sick or injured,” said Hallaway. “Hospital stays can be difficult for children but Santa’s visits always deliver a special dose of magic that can help brighten the spirits of some of our province’s youngest patients.”