Anthony’s Christmas with Santa

Our stories about meaningful experiences are written as they unfold. Therefore, most stories are in the present tense. Some of the patients in these stories are no longer with us. They, and their families, gave us permission to share their experience with you. For those who have since passed, we share these in their memories with deep appreciation for what they have taught us about life and living.

Anthony is a young man under our care. His home-hospice team worked to manage pain and symptoms and to support him and his family. As they got to know him, they were reminded that, even in the midst of crisis, children want to feel “normal.”

All he wanted, he told his family, was a Super Mario game. It was October, and our team immediately set out to make sure he got the game he wanted. We asked the local Walmart to partner with us. They did, donating the game along with dozens of Mario-branded toys, clothes, and bedding.

With a cartload of wonderful gifts, we had an idea: would Anthony’s family be interested in making this an early Christmas? Yes, they told us. Anthony still believed wholeheartedly in Santa, and he loved Christmas.

A local Santa agreed to help. On Halloween day, he and Anthony’s Hospice Care Plus team drove to Anthony’s home in a car filled with Christmas gifts wrapped by our volunteers. One team member remembers that, when Anthony first spotted Santa, he could think of nothing to say about this unexpected, magical moment except, “Santa. I love you.” For the next hour or so, Anthony and his parents—we made sure they had gifts, too—shared a small family celebration of Christmas on Halloween afternoon.

Magical moments like these are possible because our community of donors, businesses, and volunteers understands that, in hospice and palliative care, every moment matters. We believe that making these moments possible is every bit as essential to quality of life as the medical management of pain and symptoms.

How can you honor life during National Hospice & Palliative Care Month? Visit the #WeHonorLife campaign page to learn about all the ways you can help, from volunteering and shopping to helping us increase access to specialized care for the seriously ill and their families. Questions? Contact us at or 859-986-1500 or visit our website.

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