I want to tell you about Unicorn girl, but before I do, let me tell you a little about the Santa Project. Santa delivers to children at Kaiser hospital on Christmas Eve. Santa, Mrs. Claus, Santa’s elves, and a few Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputies go room to room giving wrapped gifts and Christmas stockings to each child lying ill in the hospital. Santa receives each child’s wish list from Kaiser Staff just a day or two before the visit, feverishly we put together each child’s wish list and then deliver the gifts to the child who is surprised by the fact Santa brought what they wanted and that he also knew they were in the hospital. If we know siblings are there with the patient, we will have a gift or two for them.
Some of the children (patients) are dealing with long term or terminal illnesses that require numerous visits to the hospital and sometimes lands them in the hospital on more than one Christmas. One of those kids was Unicorn girl. The first Santa saw Unicorn girl she was a skinny, tiny little blond headed girl that was standing at the door of her room, half her body sticking out the door looking directly at me. She immediately disappeared and as Santa opened the door and gave a big “ho ho ho”, he saw her in her pink unicorn pajamas climbing into bed. Other than being very small for her age, Santa thought she does not look sick. She talked continuously the entire visit and ripped into each gift as if it was the first gift she had ever received. A quick glance at the mother and Santa could see she was enjoying the visit as much as her daughter. Back to Unicorn girl, she told Santa everything about herself including names of all her stuffed animals. When it was time to leave, Unicorn girl took a polaroid (before digital cameras we left polaroid photographs with the parents) with Santa and his elves, gave each of us a big hug and she said, “I love you Santa” as the door closed behind us.
The very next year to Santa saw that Unicorn girl was again a patient in the hospital. She didn’t look much different, still small skinny and blond and as talkative and energetic as ever. Mrs. Claus and Santa were both amazed at how “normal” she looked. Unicorn girl was happy and had a bubbly personality. No surprises here, a polaroid, a hug and the same “I love you, Santa” as we left.
The third year (in a row) we received the list and to Santa’s disappointment no Unicorn girl, but oh well hopefully she is better now. Not so fast, Tammy (child life specialist for Kaiser) calls Santa and tells him that Unicorn girl will not be at Kaiser this year because she received her treatment early and will not be in the hospital on Christmas Eve, but her mom called. Unicorn girl did not want to miss her visit with Santa on Christmas Eve so Tammy told her mother that Santa would be happy to see her. This time Santa came out to her car, she looked exactly the same and this time she came running and jumped into Santa;s arms and gave him a big hug, then the non-stopping talking, of course Santa had a Unicorn for her but this time her and her mother had gifts for Santa to give out to other kids in the hospital and yes, a polaroid, a big hug and last but not least’ I love you Santa”, as Santa and his elves left.