During his trek around the world, Santa Claus made it a point to stop by South Texas Health System Children’s to help spread some much needed holiday cheer to the good little boys and girls in the hospital’s care. On Christmas Day, Santa went room by room to surprise patients and their families with gifts he brought all the way down from the North Pole, along with the thousands of toys donated to the hospital by his elves in the Rio Grande Valley.
Throughout the month of December, STHS Children’s received dozens of visitors, all dropping off toys and gifts collected during their respective toy drives. In total, more than 3,000 items were donated during the lead up to Christmas. The donations came from former patients, local mobile home parks, and staff and students from schools across the Valley, including Edinburg Economedes High School, IDEA Public Schools, P.S.J.A. North High School and South Texas Vo-Tech. Additionally, local government offices like the Edinburg Housing Authority dropped of items.
“Imagine being a child having to spend the Christmas season in the hospital. That’s really hard on the entire family, not just the one being hospitalized” said Lance Ames, the Chief Executive Officer of South Texas Health System Children’s and South Texas Health System Edinburg. “With the generosity and kindness of our community and their donations, we’ll be able to spread a little holiday cheer to our patients and the families. There are enough toys that we'll be able to pass them out to our children in the hospital through our Child Life program well into the new year.”
For the pediatric patients currently hospitalized, the kind gesture, coupled with a visit from Jolly Old Saint Nicholas arranged by the Auxiliary to South Texas Health System, helped lift their spirits and allowed them to just enjoy being a kid on Christmas day. Gifting toys — not only during Christmas, but year-round — is just one way the hospital’s Child Life department lends support to patients and their families so they may better cope with the stress and anxiety experienced during the hospitalization.