Santa made a big entrance on a Helijet at BC Children’s and BC Women's hospitals today!
Saint Nick uses a special sleigh to bring toys to pediatric patients at six hospitals in the province.
“He’s really, really, really nice,” says 9-year-old Keira Terry, who ran over and gave Santa a hug.
“Santa is awesome,” adds Benjamin Aragon, 8, who also got to meet the jolly old elf.
It was 2005 when Santa Claus first stepped aboard a helicopter to fly toys to children in the pediatric ward of a Metro Vancouver hospital. Santa, BC Emergency Health Services and Helijet are now marking the 15th anniversary of the “Santa Flights.”
The holiday tradition has grown so that he visits children in six hospitals – Victoria General, Nanaimo Regional General, BC Children’s, BC Women's, Surrey Memorial and Royal Columbian – all in a single day!
It’s a welcome distraction for young patients and their families when they meet Santa and his entourage, including BCEHS’ critical care paramedic Ray Sims, Helijet President & CEO Danny Sitnam, and a helper elf.
The visit is also an opportunity for specialty-trained, Infant Transport Team paramedics to see children under happier, less stressful conditions. Sims was a member of the very first team when it was formed back in 1977 to provide specialized care to the province’s youngest patients.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to see all of these young patients as their faces light up and they visit with Santa,” says Sims. “Infant Transport Team paramedics help care for and transport babies and young children with acute or traumatic emergency health needs to hospital, so reunions like this are extra special for all of us.”