Children, parents and staff in B.C. hospitals are being treated to a special pre-Christmas visit today by Santa Claus, who is once again travelling in a BCEHS air ambulance courtesy of Helijet. The jolly old elf is back in the air to bring smiles and joy to courageous children who are in hospital pediatric units this holiday season, and to the dedicated front-line health care workers who look after them.
For the 19th straight year, BCEHS and Helijet are helping Santa bring toys and Christmas cheer to kids in six hospitals, all in a single day. This year’s “Santa Flights” will visit Victoria General, Surrey Memorial, Royal Columbian, Nanaimo Regional General, Abbotsford Regional Hospital and the BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.
“I’m delighted that BCEHS and Helijet are helping Santa make their special hospital run to lift the spirits of children who require care in hospital at this special time of the year,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “I am constantly amazed by the tremendous courage and resilience of our children who are bravely fighting to get well soon. Santa’s visits not only bring joy and hope to our young patients but also celebrate the dedication of our front-line workers, including specialized paramedics who provide crucial medical care for children across the province. Thank you all for making this wonderful trip possible.”
Joining Santa for the air ambulance flights is Brian Thornburn, one of BCEHS’ specially trained Infant Transport Team (ITT) paramedics who care for and transport babies and young children with acute or traumatic emergency health needs to hospital.
“It’s an honour to be part of a dedicated critical care team like ITT that has provided specialized paramedic care to the province’s youngest patients since 1976,” Brian said. “We usually meet patients and their families during stressful medical emergencies, so joining them instead for a wonderful holiday tradition is incredibly special for me and all the paramedics I proudly represent today.”
Also on board the Santa Flights is Danny Sitnam, President and CEO of Helijet which operates air ambulance helicopters for BCEHS.
“Everyone at Helijet is proud to work with BCEHS and its paramedics to provide 24/7 helicopter service for critically ill patients across the province,” said Sitnam. “And for the 19th straight year, 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.”
Click for press release (pdf) 2023Dec12 Media Release – Santa Flights