Hospice of Anchorage helps family have extra special Christmas

Published: Dec. 20, 2019 at 5:21 PM AKST
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Every year, Hospice of Anchorage arranges for delivery of presents from Santa and a visit from a special fire truck for its patients under the age of 18.

The visit is part of The Santa Project, which the nonprofit has been running for the past several years.

“When you’re in hospice care, there are struggles,” said Amy Tribbett, the Executive Director of Hospice of Anchorage. “So we do what we can to make it a more merry Christmas, so they can enjoy the holiday and it just gives them something to smile about.”

The Anchorage Fire Department and Hospice of Anchorage visited Shelton McCarty’s home.

Seven-year-old McCarty was diagnosed with Cockayne Syndrome Type II.

According to Tribbett, Cockayne syndrome is a rare disease that causes premature aging, short stature, photosensitivity, delay in learning and more.

“It’s been great,” said Veronica Cuevas, mother of McCarty. “It's been awesome that hospice does this for their children. Especially because his health has been deteriorating. So it has been very special.”

Santa came and visited Shelton and his siblings. They enjoyed presents and spent the evening outside of their house with the Anchorage Fire Department, sliding on their special fire truck which is decked out as Santa’s sleigh.

“It brings smiles and joy, especially to all of these siblings who have to endure all of this pain,” Cuevas said.

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