UMC Cancer Child Life Specialists host annual Christmas party for cancer patients

UMC hosts children's Christmas party for current, former cancer patients

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Nearly 200 current and former patients had a ball on Saturday at the UMC Christmas party for children with cancer.

“I made a gingerbread man," said six-year-old Shailene Badia.

Amy Garcia, a child life specialist at UMC’s cancer center says that all of today’s Christmas activities helped kids get cancer off of their minds.

“They get to go through Santa’s workshop and get a present, they get a stocking from Santa, some pictures with Santa and then they get to come into this room and do karaoke, make some Christmas ornaments, decorate gingerbread houses, just having a good time and have a normal holiday.”

Ballet Lubbock got to go to the hospital too for a mini performance of the iconic ballet, “The Nutcracker”.

“A lot of these kids have a low immune system and can’t go into the public, so the Nutcracker performed for this families here. It was really wonderful,” explained Amy.

Amy, who normally consoles, encourages, and educates kids in hospital rooms, says she saw all sorts of smiles today.

“We actually have a patient who has been in the hospital - I haven’t seen her happy in a very long time. She’s two years old and having a really difficult time being in the hospital. I saw her dragging her dad and grandpa around the room and just smiling around the room and how great it was for her parents to see their child happy at Christmas again.”

Pediatric hematologist oncologist, Mohamad Al-Rahawan, enjoyed seeing the kids enjoy their party.

“I’m not wearing my tie and they’re wearing their normal clothes. I think it just gives a different feel of being the doctor and patient. It’s just like a human to human interaction.”

Caden Garcia, who was a cancer patient five years ago, likes to come back every year to encourage the other kids and see them get toys.

“Now, they might have something to do because they might not have that much and they’re bored.”

Tri Delta alumni volunteers and donations to the Children’s Miracle Network helped with today’s event.

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