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TODAY news for Thursday, January 26, 2006

Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center news

Santa brings Christmas cheer to BMC

John Carpenter and his daughter, Rene
John Carpenter and his daughter, Rene, bring cheer to the children at Behavioral Medicine Center on Christmas Eve.
When thinking of images of Santa Claus, many often envision a jolly old man with a big white beard riding a sleigh pulled through the cold snowy night by his beloved reindeer. Well, how about cruising down the streets of sunny California on a Harley Davidson?

That is exactly how our dear Santa came to visit Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center on December 24.

This is the second year that Santa (alias John Carpenter) and his helper (daughter) Rene came to visit the children’s unit. Their visit represents the true meaning of Christmas and the impact of kindness is felt by all of us at the BMC. They once again raised money by offering pictures with Santa for a donation outside the local Chili’s restaurant in the weeks prior to Christmas. Santa generously decided to reach into his own pocket and give additional funds to purchase goodies for the BMC kids.

Not wanting to give just any gift, they contacted the hospital to get the first name, age, and gender of all the kids. Santa and his helper worked until 4:00 in the morning purchasing and wrapping presents specially selected for each child. Their efforts did not go unnoticed by our grateful staff and excited kids who welcomed them with open arms. The experience gave the children the opportunity to temporarily forget they were spending the holiday in a psychiatric hospital.

The generosity of this man and his daughter brought so much joy to our hospital for a variety of reasons.  The holidays are often noted for a time of giving, but unfortunately, many individuals and charitable organizations do not think of children in a psychiatric hospital. Due to confidentiality laws and incredibly difficult personal circumstances, these kids may have otherwise been forgotten in their time of crisis, when such kindness can be the key to restoring hope in the life of a child.

When generous individuals such as the Carpenters give of their time, the impact is enormous. Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center is grateful to Santa and his helper, as well as all the other donations we received during the holidays.

By Cheri McGrath
Senior marketing specialist, LLUMC

TODAY news for Thursday, January 26, 2006