The Holidays are Merry and Bright for MD Anderson Pediatric Patients

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By Sara Farris

santapedi copy.jpgLoads of toys coming in, gingerbread houses being made, choirs singing, delicious treats being shared -- it must be the holidays at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital.

While the hospital is the last place a child wants to be during the holiday season, the Children's Cancer Hospital partners with community groups to make it a special time for patients and their families.

Toys galore
There's no better way to cheer up a young patient than with a shiny new toy. With the support of many community groups, the Children's Cancer Hospital provides patients and siblings with bundles of gifts. There's a variety of gifts for all ages to choose from -- video games, digital audio players, dolls, art kits, remote-controlled cars and more.

Houston Performance Driving, led by Troy Dixon, organized a toy drive with local car enthusiasts at their December "Coffee and Cars" show. Bringing in more than 3,000 toys, it's the biggest donation that MD Anderson receives each year.

In addition, other organizations such as Quanex, Aramco and the Rainbows and Roses Foundation contributed toys for pediatric patients at MD Anderson. Quanex also donated money to the hospital's Pediatric Education and Creative Arts Program for school-related equipment, while Aramco helped stock the video game and movie cart that goes room to room on the inpatient floor.

Toys that aren't given away during the holidays are used for birthday presents and bingo prizes for patients throughout the year.

Gingerbread houses
On Dec. 22, the Houston Racquet Club will deliver an amazing gingerbread house for the patients and families at MD Anderson to enjoy during the holidays in the Alkek Hospital lobby. The house will remain on display until the beginning of January, when the pediatric patients will be able to help in the tear-down of the house.

In addition to this beautiful gingerbread creation, the Houston Racquet Club rallied its members to make a donation to the Children's Cancer Hospital's Child Life Program.

Santa appearance in The Park
What Christmas would be complete without a visit from Santa? On Dec. 14, Adam's Angels hosted their annual holiday party for pediatric patients and their families. Young patients created a variety of seasonal craft projects with the help of volunteers from the Adam's Angels organization.

Children had their photos taken with Santa and received a frame to display it, plus their choice of a special gift. In addition, the MD Anderson employee choir sang some of the children's favorite holiday tunes and added to the festive cheer.

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