Holiday traditions continue to make spirits bright for patients at Mott Children’s Hospital

Virtual Santa visits, in-house toy store bring smiles to Little Victors

Mr. and Mrs. Claus pay a visit to a pediatric patient at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in December 2021. (C.S. Mott Children's Hospital)

ANN ARBOR – As the COVID pandemic continues, patients at University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital are more isolated than ever this holiday season.

With visitor restrictions in place and limitations on how many patients can occupy the facility’s many activity rooms, families are spending nearly all of their time in their child’s room.

But thanks to donations from the community, staff at Mott were still able to bring some holiday magic to Michigan Medicine’s youngest patients and their families.

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Last week, Santa did his rounds visiting virtually with patients at their bedsides, and patients and their families were able to “shop” at Mott’s in-house toy store, which provides brand-new toys to patients at no cost.

“Children and families who are at the hospital miss out on so many of the season’s traditions, such as seeing Santa,” Luanne Ewald, chief operating officer of Mott and U-M Health Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital said in a news release. “We’re so grateful for the incredible community support that helps us make this time of year special for our Mott families and brings them some holiday cheer during such a stressful time.”

For the second year in a row, Mr. and Mrs. Claus Zoomed in to Little Victors’ rooms from the North Pole. Child and Family Life staff took an iPad from room to room so children could take photos and share their Christmas lists without having to leave their beds.

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The eighth-floor activity room became Mott’s own Santa’s workshop, featuring shelves lined with toys including Legos, puzzles, stuffed animals, dolls and more as well as U-M apparel.

Families were given the option to choose up to five gifts for their child receiving treatment and their siblings.

About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.