NEW YORK, NY – December 8, 2023

From December 5th through the 7th, Santa Claus (and Père Noël) made personalized visits with pediatric patients in 15 children’s hospitals from New York to Anchorage. The 16th annual Santa Connection was another unqualified success.

Mark Leff of Exclusive Networks served as coordinator for the event, and he was assisted once again by Steve Maykowski of Google. Leff said, “Steve and I discussed this being an ideal case of using technology for good, making a real impact. We also marveled at how the hospitals really understood what they needed to do as well. Just the fact that all 15 slots were taken in only a few days back in September is another testament of the significance of this event and the impact we are making.” Eric Schwartz at Connoisseur Media on Long Island provided a workshop setting at the station for Santa to hunker down for a few days of merriment.

Santa Claus spent the first couple of days listening to patients share their hopes and dreams. The Child Life Specialists at each hospital provided an “assist” by forwarding a cheat sheet on each patient. Old St. Nick knew the names of siblings, their favorite hobbies and details about their pets (and their Elf on the Shelf!) He was ably joined by the elf, Holly (Barbara Stagnari), and a host of elves committed to singing and confirming the availability of toys that the patients requested.

On the final day of the Santa Connection, our attention shifted north of the border to Père Noël (Nick Marion). The bilingual Père Noël was able to effortlessly converse with patients in both French and English. Regardless of the language, the sentiment was all the same – it was all about feeling merry and bright.

Through the generosity of its donors, the Companions in Courage Foundation provided gift cards for each patient. Many of the Child Life staff listened to what the patients asked Santa for and then used the gift cards to provide that item. Smiles and holiday cheer filled the air!