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Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus Celebrates Annual Christmas Tree Lighting
Santa Claus lit up a giant Christmas tree outside of Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, illuminating the sky with hope that radiated beyond what the eye could see. More than 2000 lights shine from the 18-foot-tall tree outside the hospital every night through Christmas.
Santa Shawn Apperson flipped the switch for the tree lighting this year because he collected more than $5,000 worth of gifts for patients. Apperson has worked for HVAC companies repairing Texas Children’s heating and cooling systems for years. He spent months collecting donations from local businesses and individuals to make sure Christmas is special for children while they are being treated at Texas Children’s. Donations from several sponsors including: Optimal Air Solutions LLC, The Ark Church Conroe and Proof Positive Production made the gifts possible.
“I want to show everyone that COVID will not ruin Christmas for the kids or us,” Apperson said.
Several patients watched the lighting from the windows inside the hospital.
“This is a very magical time of year,” said Raul Avendano, father of a patient. “It’s very beautiful that you guys are doing this for them.”
The children received a special stocking full of goodies from hospital staff to take back to their rooms. A number of individuals and organizations donated or pledged to donate thousands of dollars in toys and other gifts to help make the hospital stay a little special for these young patients. Top annual donors to Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus include: PetSmart, Marine Corps, Katy Lions Club, Body Balance Foundation and the Toys Fore Kids golf tournament with Dr. Shawn Taher and family.
“The West Campus tree lighting event is certainly one of my personal favorite events of the year as it kicks off the holidays for our patients and team members. Some of these children may not get an opportunity to visit Santa or participate in holiday festivities due to their health so we are grateful for the large team of employees, volunteers, and local community supporters who make this happen,” said Matt Timmons, Vice President at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. “Although this event has been modified this year to accommodate pandemic-related restrictions, our patients and team members are still able to participate in socially-distanced holiday fun and catch a glimpse of Santa!”
Santa will be making a special early delivery of gifts to patients on Christmas Eve.
“Everyone has had a rough year, especially these children. They’ve been in their rooms and it gives them an opportunity to get out and see something magical happen,” said Binta Baudy, Assistant Vice President at Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus. “It gets everyone in a great spirit. It’s been a great way to start off the holiday season.”