Thursday 23 February 2017

The Other Side of Christmas: 'It all depends on how my bloods go' - Sick children may celebrate Christmas Day on hospital ward

John Brennan

For some sick children, this Christmas Day may be celebrated not at home with family and friends, but in a hospital ward.

“I’ll probably get out for either a few hours or I’ll get discharged, it all depends on how my bloods go,” Kerry Lawless (12) from Skerries told independent.ie.

Santa and Mrs Claus with Oisin Slevin (9) from Borrisokane Co Tipperary during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital
Santa and Mrs Claus with Oisin Slevin (9) from Borrisokane Co Tipperary during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital
Santa and Mrs Claus with Oisin Slevin (9) from Borrisokane Co Tipperary during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital
Santa with Ava Mc Grath (5) from Galway during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital

This isn’t an unusual story for children at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin at this time of the year – many face uncertainty where they will be spending their Christmas morning.

Kerry Lawless however remained positive, she said “It’s actually quite fun, they have lots of stuff to do, all the decorations are lovely.”

To help with this difficult time of year the hospital organised to have Santa Claus and some of his helpers visit the hospital to see how the brave boys and girls were doing.

For one day, the hospital was transformed into a winter wonderland with staff dressing in costumes and children being given presents as Santa did his rounds with Mrs Claus on their sleigh.

Ms Rachel Kenna, Director of Nursing at the Children’s Hospital, told Independent.ie, “Christmas is a very important time of year for children and their families.

“Crumlin obviously has a serious side to it as well, it’s really important for us to bring the smile to those children’s faces who are in here – they’re the real heroes of the day.”

Santa with Ava Mc Grath (5) from Galway during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital
Santa with Ava Mc Grath (5) from Galway during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital
Santa with Ava Mc Grath (5) from Galway during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital
Santa and Crumlin Hospital Staff with Billy Nolan (4) and His Mum Audrey Mockler from Walkinstown during a Fun Day in Crumlin Childrens Hospital

She added, “The children here with us here in hospital miss out on all that important preparation so it’s about that and celebrating the run up to Christmas – it’s a day of fantastic fun.”

The corridors of Crumlin hospital were filled with excitement and festive songs as the children watched in awe as Christmas parades arced through the wards, magicians wowed boys and girls and some even met Disney characters.

Kerry Lawless added, “It’s a bit different because usually you are used to the staff wearing all blue - in their work clothes but seeing them dressed up as elves and snowmen is quite funny.

“I probably like the parade, seeing all the different themes… they have face painting and stuff so it’s good for the kids,” she added.

Also getting the chance to meet Santa was Oisin Slevin (9) from Tipperary, who asked Santa for Star Wars toys.

His exciting week was only going to get better as he told Independent.ie that “I get to go the Star Wars premiere,” he said.

Ava McGrath (5) from Claregalway in Co Galway even got a big hug from Santa when he met her in the hospital, she was even lucky enough to get two presents as well and hopes to get a bike on top of this for Christmas.

She told Santa that he had “a nice beard and nice shoes,” as he gave her two presents – surely guaranteeing her place on the nice list.

Kerri Dowling (10) from Kilcock also was photographed with Santa, she joined him in wishing everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’.

Santa’s nice list was undoubtedly full after the visit to the brave boys and girls.

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