SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Santa made an early stop by the NICU at Intermountain Medical Center this week.
Santa Claus and his elf visited families whose babies aren’t quite ready to leave the hospital. They dropped off hats that were knitted by volunteers to wear for their first pictures with the man in the red suite.
The group Common Bonds, which is made up parents whose children were also in the NICU at one time, organized the annual event. It featured an open house for families which included food and a gift.
First time mom Nickolle Priest, whose son Jameson was born at nearly 25 weeks, has been in the NICU for a month. She said having Santa come by gave some relief but was also excited her son got to see Santa on his first Christmas.
“Jameson looked at him a few times, and that was so truly amazing,” said Priest. “Even in not the best of circumstances he can have such a wonderful moment.”
NICU Parent Support Coordinator Shamie Campbell knows what it’s like to be in that position. Her twins were in the NICU eight years ago and are now healthy and thriving. She notes how important something like this can be to bring a sense of normalcy.
“It’s nice for the parents to have Santa come in and have normalcy because everything in the NICU is really hard.” Said Campbell. “It’s nice for them to have something from outside at Christmas time.”
Staff at the hospital say they bring in Santa Claus to help bring some normalcy back into the lives of the families with children there.