Santa Claus is back in the air again today to bring smiles and the joy of Christmas to courageous children in hospital pediatric units at this time of year and to the dedicated front-line health care workers who look after them.
For the 18th year, children, parents and staff in B.C. hospitals will be treated to a pre-Christmas visit by Santa who is once again travelling in a BCEHS air ambulance courtesy of Helijet.
The BCEHS and Helijet annual “Santa Flights” deliver toys and Christmas cheer to six hospitals: Victoria General, Surrey Memorial, Royal Columbian, Nanaimo Regional General, Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Cancer Centre, BC Children’s Hospital, and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.
“I’m delighted that BCEHS and Helijet are back helping Santa make his special hospital visits this year,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Santa’s visits are magical as they lift the spirits of children receiving care in our hospitals. At the same time, the Santa visits also celebrate the dedication of our front-line workers, including specialized paramedics who provide such crucial medical care.”
Joining Santa for the air ambulance flights is Joanna Stefani, an Infant Transport Team (ITT) paramedic. Specially trained staff like Stefani help to care for and transport critically ill babies and young children to hospital.
“As ITT paramedics, we are dedicated to helping children in some of the most difficult and traumatic of circumstances,” said Stefani. “Often, we meet patients and their families in medical emergencies. Today’s Santa flight is incredibly special, as we get to bring smiles to young patients in less stressful conditions. I am honoured to represent all paramedics in this wonderful holiday tradition.”
Also flying with Santa is Danny Sitnam, President and CEO of Helijet, which operates the BCEHS air ambulance transporting Santa today.
“All of us at Helijet are happy to have this opportunity to help make the holiday season special for these courageous kids and their families who find themselves in hospital instead of at home as Christmas approaches,” said Helijet President and CEO Danny Sitnam. “This is the 18th year our dedicated staff at Helijet has helped fly Santa around and we’re very proud of our contribution as we continue to help BC Ambulance Service paramedics provide 24/7 helicopter service for hundreds of critically-ill patients across the province every year.”
Follow the hashtag #SantaFlights on Social Media to see where Santa has landed.
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