Santa Claus made a very special visit to Diamond Children’s on Tuesday, Dec. 17.
He arrived to Diamond Children's by horse carriage, entered the hospital on a red carpet and was greeted by throngs of excited patients, parents and staff.
While in the lobby, Santa hugged and visited with everyone there, assessing whether they had been "naughty" or "nice" throughout the year.
"I was delighted that everyone at Diamond Children's was deemed 'nice'," said Santa, with a wink.
With the help of many brightly-attired elves and volunteers, patients and their siblings enjoyed decorating cookies, listening to Christmas music, taking rides in the horse-drawn carriages, and getting their photo taken with Santa. The elves used magic cameras to develop the photos on the spot, so each patient would have a keepsake of their visit with Santa. "We just love making children smile," exclaimed one elf.
After the fun and festive time in the lobby, Santa went and visited with the hospitalized children unable to make it to the lobby. He gave each child words of encouragement and cheer, and the elves gave each child a gift.
"This was such a special visit," said Diamond Children's child life manager Lori Mitts, BS, CCLS. "Our patients were delighted to see Santa and his elves! We are so grateful."
The event was coordinated and managed by Rackel Gehlsen, owner of Rackel Gehlsen Weddings & Events. "I love doing this kind of volunteer work," said Gehlsen. "I couldn't create this event without the individuals and organizations who graciously donated their time, talents and services."
The following organizations/individuals donated time and/or services:
• Rackel Gehlsen Weddings & Events (Recruited all the professionals for the event, planned and produced the event, and paid for many items that were not donated)
• Ambrosia Cakery (provided cupcakes for the staff)
• Blacksheep Filmworks (video filming; creating a video of the event)
• Chris Richards Photography (professional photography services)
• Gaslight Theater Costumes (provided the elf costumes)
• Pro Em Rentals (provided the red carpet, red velvet stanchions, tables and linens)
• SATYR Entertainment (provided the DJ and music in the lobby)
• Sentinel Carriage Company (provided the horse carriages; planned Santa's carriage route around the hospital, and coordinated Santa's grand entrance; provided all the white lights for the trees in the lobby)
• Waterfall Designs (provided drape and decor for the Santa photo area)
"It's amazing what can be accomplished when people work together," said Mitts. "We're so grateful to Rackel for organizing this beautiful event for our patients, and for all the companies that donated their services."
Photos of the event can be viewed here: http://tinyurl.com/lhgah8r
A video of Santa’s visit can be viewed here: http://vimeo.com/82359541