Making Spirits Bright: Santa Goes Virtual this Year for Pediatric Patients

Northwestern Medicine
News November 19, 2020
In pre-pandemic times, the child life team at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital starts to get busy with sorting through toy donations for a variety of holiday events in the pediatric wing. As with everything, COVID-19 has changed the typical celebrations.

This year, Santa will visit pediatric patients virtually as child life specialists dressed as elves walk around an iPad with Santa. While the team is thankful they still have a way to spread holiday cheer, the pandemic already seems to have an impact on the number of donations they usually receive.

“Usually this time of year, I’ve already started receiving phone calls from people in our community who are interested in donating some toys to our pediatric patients,” said Dora Castro-Ahillen, child life services program manager at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital.

To make shopping and delivery easier for those interested in donating toys or books, the team put together an Amazon wish list filled with a variety of items for boys and girls of all ages.

“We put some thought into the items we selected and chose things that we know are popular,” Castro-Ahillen said. “We always like to make sure we have a variety so that no child is disappointed.”

If you would like to send some items to the pediatric unit at Central DuPage Hospital, you can find the wish list here*. Upon checkout, select “Dora Castro-Ahillen CDH’s Gift Registry Address”.

Items purchased will be delivered to the child life team. The virtual Santa visit will take place on Thursday, Dec. 10, but there is still a need for toys beyond that to give to children throughout December.
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