MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- It was all smiles and high-fives on Tuesday at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital as local pilots showered the kids with presents.
The group “Pilots for Kids” hosted their holiday party there where they had a better turn-out than expected.
“The kids are having to be here and that’s not where they want to be, so what’s the best thing we can do and that’s just bring them a little cheer,” said Paul Sanchez, coordinator for Pilots for Kids in Memphis.
It’s Sanchez’s first year coordinating this event with “Pilots for Kids” in Memphis. FedEx and other airlines collected donations for kids at Le Bonheur. The Memphis Air National Guard showed up too.
Le Bonheur Staff said they have 255 beds for patients at the hospital and the pilots agreed to bring enough presents for everyone.
“If they run out, we’ll replenish,” said Sanchez.
On Tuesday, kids went from station to station playing games and picking out their favorite toys.
One outpatient, Derick, found himself a few items.
“I’ve been over there, there, there, there and over there,” said Derick as he pointed to all the stations.
While another patient’s mom grabbed a Finding Dory stuffed animal for her three-month-old recovering from heart surgery upstairs.
“He’s got some stuffed animals on his bed and he’ll just stare at them, wide-eyed, just looking at them. I call them his cheerleaders,” said his mom Kristina Eddings.
But the party proved these kids have a lot more cheerleaders than just that.
“It’s a really tough situation when you’re spending your holidays at the hospital," said Amy Ford, special events coordinator with child life services. "Things are scary, you’re away from your family traditions and it’s just great to know the community is thinking of you.”
Pilots for Kids say next year they plan on visiting more hospitals and schools.