LBFD “Elves” Join Santa to Spread Cheer at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital
2014-12-22 · By Editor
More than 50 firefighters from the Long Beach Fire Department (LBFD), many on their day off, helped Santa surprise patients at their bedsides in the early morning at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach on Friday, Dec. 19.
“We love being involved in the community,” says Greg Curiel, LBFD Fire Captain. “This event is particularly special to us because we are surprising children and bringing smiles to their faces. Many of us are fathers and have families, so this is very close to our hearts. We’ve been doing this for about 18 years now.”
Santa and his tall group of elves jingled down the hallways, distributing candy canes to patients, families and staff. Going from room to room they made it a point to visit every single patient at Miller Children’s. Patients and families were excited for their surprise visitors, and their care teams were just as eager for their patients to meet old St. Nick.
“Every year the LBFD does this special visit and it keeps getting better and better,” says Rita Goshert, manager, Child Life Program, Miller Children’s. “This year they brought glow sticks, wore snowflake glasses and distributed their personally handmade candy cane holiday ornaments. It’s so sweet that they volunteer their time to put everything together and come here. You can see the joy in their faces and the joy they are able to spread — it’s contagious.”
The event, put on by the LBFD Kids Program, gives patients the opportunity to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season despite not being able to take part in festivities in the comfort of their own homes. The LBFD Santa visit takes a unique approach to offering patients a special in-hospital holiday experience. The mission of LBFD Kids is to enhance the lives and well-being of the children at Miller Children’s by bringing smiles and happiness.
The LBFD Santa visit is organized by the Child Life Program at Miller Children’s. The goal of this event is to keep patients encouraged and in good spirits throughout the holiday season. The Child Life Program coordinates uplifting special events to ensure that patients receive not only proper care but the most positive experience during their stay.