Santa Claus Cruises into Cooper Hospital via Helicopter

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Santa Claus makes a pitstop at Cooper University Health Care in Camden to spread some holiday cheer and happiness. Santa Claus makes a pitstop at Cooper University Health Care in Camden to spread some holiday cheer and happiness.
CAMDEN, N.J. -

A few of Santa’s elves say that he’s been busy spending the last few days making adjustments to his sleigh and putting the finishing touches on the toys he’ll be delivering to the good boys and girls come the end of this month.

However, on Thursday, December 7th, he did find the time in his busy schedule to make a special trip to South Jersey.

“I believe Santa has a list of all the hospitals, and there’s a naughty list and a nice list,” said Anthony Mazzarelli, chief physician executive with Cooper University Health Care. “He checked the list — I believe he checked it twice — and we were on the nice list. So that’s why he chose to come to Cooper University Health Care.”

He checked the list — I believe he checked it twice — and we were on the nice list.

Kris Kringle spent Thursday morning saying hello to pediatric patients at Cooper University, doing what he does best — asking what they want for Christmas, and handing out a few early presents.

“He goes room to room and sees all of the other children who can’t make it to the playroom to make sure that they have an opportunity to see Santa,” said Stephanie Conners, chief operating officer of Cooper University Health Care.

To let the reindeer rest before their big flight on Christmas Eve, Santa and one of his trusty elves had a different ride.

They climbed aboard the hospital’s helicopter, waving to the excited patients before landing.

“To see at least one of them smile makes it all worth it, and that’s what it’s about," said Santa. "It’s supposed to be a magical season, and to see the smile on a kids face is pure magic."

“It’s important to us to make sure that they don’t miss anything throughout the holidays, and bringing Santa to them brings a lot of cheer, and that’s what we like to do,” said Conners.

There were plenty of smiles to go around, and not just from the children and staff, but from parents too.

“This is the time period, not just with the holidays coming up, but it’s the time you plan about the holidays," said Mazzarelli. "So you’re thinking about, for the parents and for the families, 'Is my child still going to be here [in the hospital]?' and so this brings some normalcy thinking about that.”

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