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Santa visits sick children at YRMC
Santa and two of his police officer helpers spread Christmas cheer to some sick children at Yuma Regional Medical Center Thursday morning.
"We just told (Santa) there were some really great kids here that needed some extra attention and he said he would be right here," said Officer Leanne Worthen, a spokesperson for the Yuma Police Department. "In a nutshell, what we are going to do is make some kids happy."
Making a special appearance on the pediatric floor, Santa, played by Al Jones, went to the rooms of several sick children, dropping off stockings filled with candy, paint sets, stuffed animals and other toys.
"To see all these wonderful children in the hospital on Christmas Eve just breaks my heart," Santa said.
Worthen said, "If anyone were to take a moment and think about how it isn't fun for an adult to be in the hospital, I think you can imagine what it is like for a child to have to be in the hospital, especially on Christmas Eve."
She added, "If we can gain anything it is that these children get to have just a little extra special attention to make them feel good."
Santa also gave red carnations to the nurses who were on duty. The toys he gave the children had been donated by local businesses.
During his visit Santa stopped at the room of 4-year-old Daniel Salazar, whose face lit up the moment he walked through the door.
After giving Daniel a paint set and some toy jets, Santa told that he wanted him to get better soon.
"Because I feel bad and sad when people don't feel well," Santa told him.
In another room Santa found Alysia Schweda and her 5-day-old daughter Analilse, who he even held for several moments.
Analilse was born almost a month early and weighed close to five pounds.
After making his rounds at the hospital, Santa, given it is his busiest day of the year, eventually had to get back to delivering toys to other children around the world.
But before going, he left the children of Yuma County a message.
"Everyone should be good because Santa is going to be coming around."
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854.