Santa makes a special hospital visit
Lauren Thorn couldn't believe it when she saw Santa come into her hospital room carrying a sack of toys.
The 7-year-old was admitted to Waitakere Hospital's Rangatira Children's Unit on December 11 with a sore stomach.
She's among the sick children visited by Santa last Friday and given a soft toy.
"I was so surprised, it was cool," she says.
Her mother Deborah says Santa must have read her Christmas wish list.
"He must have known she absolutely loves soft toys," she says.
Santa's trip from the North Pole to West Auckland is part of the Christmas Comes Early campaign run by Waitemata District Health Board for past and present families at both North Shore and Waitakere hospitals.
The day was also celebrated with a visit from Silver Fern Maria Tuta'ia, a barbecue lunch and face painting.
Three-year-old Xavier Misson is a past Rangatira patient and also received a gift from Santa.
The tot spent 15 days in the ward with an auto-immune bug and mother Stephanie Mills says the support from staff was invaluable.
"They were extraordinary. For Xavier it was one big adventure but for me it was a journey. Everyone was so helpful and now we come back to visit because everyone is his friend," the Massey resident says.
Rangatira charge nurse manager Adelle Rongokea says it's hard for families to spend the lead up to Christmas in hospital with a sick child but it's still important to celebrate the festive season.
"There's nothing worse for a family to be in here over Christmas but if their child is sick they have to be," she says.