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Santa Claus arrives at Surrey Memorial Hospital by helicopter, visits children

Jolly old elf delivered gifts to children in pediatric units in six hospitals in B.C.

Santa spread some Christmas cheer to children at Surrey Memorial Hospital Tuesday (Dec. 12) with help from BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) and Heliijet.

“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,” reads a BCEHS release Tuesday (Dec. 12).

For the 19th year, the air ambulance helped Santa deliver toys and holiday cheer to children in six B.C. hospitals all in one day.

This year, Santa visited Victoria General, Surrey Memorial, Royal Columbian, Nanaimo Regional General, Abbotsford Regional Hospital, BC Children’s Hospital, and BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre.

Brian Thornburn, a trained Infant Transport Team paramedic, joined Santa this year.

“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,” Thornburn said.

Danny Sitnam, the president and CEO of Helijet, which operates air ambulances for BCEHS, also accompanied Santa Tuesday.

“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,” Sitnam said. “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.”

“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,” Adrian Dix, B.C.’s minister of health, stated in a news release Tuesday (Dec. 12).

“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.”

-With files from Lauren Collins

Anna Burns

About the Author: Anna Burns

I started with Black Press Media in the fall of 2022 as a multimedia journalist after finishing my practicum at the Surrey Now-Leader.
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