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Santa virtually visits Spokane Shriner's Hospital

With the help of the hospital's tele-health technology, Santa was able to video chat with patients at Shriners ahead of Christmas.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Ahead of Christmas, Santa paid a virtual visit to the patients at the Spokane Shriners Hospital. Kids were able to spend one-on-one time with Santa and share all their Christmas wishes.

"It gives them a chance to just be kids," Jen York, Shriners Communications Coordinator said. "Outside of treatment, outside of therapy, the kids can just be kids."

One patient said she was excited to meet Santa and ask for Pop Its. 

Another child said he wanted an Oculus Quest 2, a virtual reality headset.

Many of the patients at Shriners have disabilities that affect their communication or mobility. This opportunity brings Santa to them and closer to traditional Christmas activities.

"For patients who have mobility issues, it can be challenging to do the traditional things like sit on Santa's lap," York said. "Santa was so kind to visit our hospital and give our patients an opportunity to visit with him one on one."

Santa does virtual visits at several Shriners locations across the country. 

Spokane Shriner said opportunities like these are helpful to better a patient's overall health.

"It's about more than just healthcare, it's about social and emotional well-being as well," York said.

Seeing Santa is one of the hospital's holiday highlights.