The holiday season is a magical time for many – especially for children. Children look forward to the break from school, spending time with their families and, of course, receiving a long awaited visit from the man in the red suit!
Unfortunately, some children and their families don’t have the luxury of spending Christmas at home; some need to stay in the hospital, or visit frequently throughout the holidays, so that they can receive the important gift of wellness. So each year, various members or groups of the community join Eastern Health employees at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre to make the holidays a very special time for these children.
December is always a special month at the Janeway. This year, we celebrated the holidays with our patients in a variety of ways.
St. John’s Ice Caps Visit Children at Janeway
On December 3, the St. John’s Ice Caps hockey team visited the children at the Janeway. The Ice Caps went room-to-room to see the inpatients, and spoke with outpatients at the ship in the main lobby.
Baby’s First Photo with Santa
On December 3, we held an event for some of our youngest patients by providing families with the opportunity to have their baby’s first photo taken with Santa. That day, 30 babies had their photos taken. Our hope is that these will be treasured photos and result in happy memories for these families for many years to come.
Memorial Gift Giving from Santa
On December 5, friend of the Janeway, Meggan Oates, organized a visit to the Janeway from Santa. She visited all inpatients and gave them all a present, each donated and wrapped by her family and friends. The visit was organized in memory of Meggan’s younger sister, Jessica Oates, who passed away at the Janeway in 1999.
RCMP 30th Annual Children’s Christmas Party
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) held their 30th Annual Christmas Party at the Janeway on December 7th. Once again, this annual event was a huge success.
The event was emceed by Brian O’Connell with VOCM and featured a great selection of entertainment, including:
- The Sweet Forget Me Nots;
- The Once;
- St. Pat’s Dancers;
- Greg Tobin; and
- the Church Lads Brigade (CLB) and, who have supported and entertained at this party for 30 years.
Santa visited with the children in attendance and also stopped by some rooms to see those who were not well enough to attend.
Inpatient Carly Power and her mother, Crystal, had a great time! “The entertainment was wonderful and it is great to get off the unit,” Crystal said.
Family Pictures from Help-Portrait St. John’s
December 7 was an eventful day at the Janeway, as volunteers with Help-Portrait St. John’s gave some of their time to take portraits of Janeway patients with their families.
Help Portrait, a group organized by Brian Carey, is a movement of photographers, makeup artists and hair stylists who are using their time, equipment and expertise to give back to the community. The concept is simple; the team take a family portrait, print the picture and give it to the family. This year 15 families had their portraits taken.
Janeway patient Daelen Murphy and his family were one of the families to receive a portrait.
“It is great to do something normal like have a family portrait,” said Daelen’s mother Lori Murphy. “Our family, as well as others, really appreciate this event.”
Ricoh Canada Donates Special Teddy Bears
On December 10, Ricoh Canada Inc. dropped by the Janeway with a donation to help the children have a ‘beary’ special holiday season. Each year, employees of Ricoh are provided with an adorable teddy bear that they volunteer to decorate, name and wrap in order to provide a child in need of holiday cheer with a cute and cuddly friend.
This year, Ricoh Canada Inc. donated 60 of these special teddy bears to children at the Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre!
Janeway Christmas Concert and Sing Along
December 11 featured another Janeway Christmas tradition – the annual Christmas Concert and Sing-Along. Music for the sing-along was provided by Susan LeMessurier Quinn, a music therapist at the Janeway, with special performances including “The Christmas Story” by Eastern Health’s pastoral care team and a skit from our rehabilitation team entitled “Will He or Won’t He (…is Santa going to retire?).”
Entertainment by Shallaway Youth in Chorus
Shallaway Youth in Chorus entertained Janeway patients, visitors and staff on Friday, December 13. Their magical voices brought Christmas joy to all who heard them.
EllisDon Employees Donate Gifts to Janeway Patients
On December 20, employees from EllisDon will visit the Janeway with a donation to the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation as well as gifts from Santa for all Janeway inpatients.
Santa Visits on Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve is a very special time for children and families and Janeway families are no exception! When Santa arrives in Newfoundland and Labrador from the North Pole, the first children he visits are those at the Janeway, leaving gifts and stockings for all the boys and girls there!
Our Child Life and Recreation staff help facilitate all these events, making it their mission to bring Christmas cheer to the children at the Janeway. All the staff, managers and physicians share this mission, but these events are not only for the children at the Janeway. For us as employees and for our volunteers and visitors, we receive the best gift of all – spending some of the holidays with these amazing children. That gift is priceless. ■
This story was written by Marjorie Scott, divisional manager for Development and Rehabilitation with the Children and Women’s Health Program.