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Pat Lafontaine

Santa "Visits" Lion's Dens

During the holiday season many area malls feature long lines of children waiting patiently to visit with Santa Claus. But for many patients in a children’s hospital they are not able to visit the “jolly old elf” and some are even too weak to write him a letter.

So some industrious elves at Cisco Systems came to the rescue of these sick children by bringing Santa to them via a special WebEx session held across Lion’s Den hospitals on Thursday, December 11th. Debbie Wittick, a program manager at Cisco’s headquarters arranged to have Santa and his elves set up shop at their North Pole set. She said, “At a time where budgets are being cut and resources are limited, it was such an encouragement to see everyone come together to bring some big smiles to all the children involved.”

Santa had one-on-one meetings with almost 50 children at participating hospitals in Westchester, NY, New York City and Panama City, FL. Santa identified who was “naughty and nice” and spoke with the children about their hopes and dreams for the new year. He encouraged them to get well and left each child with a great sense of well-being.

Mark Leff of the New York Cisco office solicited his colleagues for donations and they contributed gifts for each of the children. After their uplifting meeting with Santa, their eyes lit up when they were handed a special gift from a Cisco “elf”.

Elizabeth Olsen of Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York said, "I just wanted to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for the lovely interaction that we had with Santa Claus. It was so beautiful and made the children smile. We appreciate all of your efforts to make this happen and all the time spent in getting it organized.

“This truly is an amazing event and the children love it and look forward to it. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year. Best wishes and we look forward to next year. Please thank all who are involved for me!”

The “Santa Connection” amplified how important it is for corporations to contribute to the well-being of those in need in their communities.

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