Last week, two children with cerebral palsy were able to walk up to Santa without the help of walkers of crutches at the 20th annual Ocala Shrine Club Children’s Christmas Party. The event, which gathered patients and families from Shriners Hospital in Tampa, Florida, featured lunch, gifts, a visit from Santa and his wife Mrs. Claus, and a demonstration by Marion County Fire Rescue. The party also allowed its 100+ guests to feel at home and share their experiences with people who understood.
Nathan, a 10 year old with cerebral palsy, has been in treatment at the Shriners Hospital for Children for three years. He began to walk unaided several months ago.
“It felt good,” he said at the Christmas party. “I turned in my crutches and no more walkers!”
His mother, Lynn Disdier, said: “Nathan can walk from class to class now, and even carry a backpack. The Shriners have been awesome.”
Nathan’s best friend Kody, age 9, just handed his crutches back last week after six years of treatments.
Nathan and Kody were joined by more than 50 other children at the Ocala Christmas Party, including 12 year old Julianne “JuJu” Dennis, 4 year old Jameson McNulty, McQuade Dean, and many others. The children were thrilled to take part in a real Christmas party, and the supportive atmosphere was inspiring for patients, their families and staffers alike.