Santa Claus teams up with Royal Canadian Air Force to visit pediatric patients

News / Pediatric Care
By Anne Rutherford

With the help of his friends in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Santa Claus paid an early visit to Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) today to deliver some Christmas cheer to the youngest patients in our region.

Santa arrived in grand style on a CH146 Griffon helicopter from the 438 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in St-Hubert, Quebec. Aided by volunteer elves from 1 Wing Headquarters here in Kingston, he delivered gifts of cuddly teddy bears to a group of delighted kids receiving care at the KGH site.

Operation HO HO HO first got off the ground in Toronto in 2003.  After seeing their colleagues spreading holiday cheer in other Canadian cities, soldiers at 1 Wing Headquarters at CFB Kingston made certain the event landed in Kingston as well.

“Operation HO HO HO is a great way for us to give back to the local community,” says Lieutenant-Colonel Chung Wong, Commanding Officer of 1 Wing Headquarters. “While we hope it’s a memorable experience for the kids to see Santa arrive by helicopter, the event is incredibly rewarding for me and my colleagues.” 

For the children and families in need of care so close to the holidays, the festive visit was just what the doctor ordered, says Kerri-Lee Bisonette, manager of the KHSC pediatrics program.

“We’re thrilled when 1 Wing offers to escort Santa directly to the hospital,” she says. “It’s a magical experience for the kids and brings lots of positive holiday spirit to their hospital stay.”