‘A Christmas miracle’: Sick Londonderry Mall Santa comes home from hospital
After being inundated with pictures and warm wishes from strangers, Santa Claus is officially out of the hospital, and back home – just in time for Christmas.
At the end of June, Cecil Hawley, Londonderry Mall’s Santa, was taken to hospital with a sore throat.
Once admitted, his health continued to deteriorate and he was transferred to the intensive care unit. He was even put into a coma for a while.
“Two months ago, he told me, ‘I don’t think I’m ever going to walk again, or eat,'” Cecil’s wife, Dana Hawley, explained on Friday. “He had a feeding tube at that point in time.”
Santa’s family feared he’d seen his last Christmas.
“They had a reason to be worried,” Santa said.
“I am very fortunate that I am here today. Very fortunate.”
Desperate to lift her grandfather’s spirits when he went to hospital, Nicole Hawley asked strangers to send in pictures and stories about their annual visits with Santa. The messages came flooding in, and her plan worked.
Watch below: On Aug. 30, 2017, Kent Morrison filed this report about an Edmonton woman who issued a plea to cheer up Santa Claus.
“I was on my way out and I think with the get well wishes and the blessings from a lot of people, I’m here today,” Santa said.
After six months in hospital, he was finally released on Wednesday.
“We have a Christmas miracle! Definitely a Christmas miracle,” Mrs. Claus exclaimed.
Santa isn’t 100 per cent just yet, but he hopes to be soon.
“I’m still a little weak. I only have about 50 per cent of my body strength and I lost 80 pounds,” he said.
He thanks the hospital staff for helping him recover. For now, family is just thankful he’s home.
“My boyfriend’s like, ‘What can I get you for Christmas?’ I’m like, ‘I don’t need anything now. I’ve got everything I need,'” Nicole said.
Her mother, Leann Hawley, echoed that sentiment.
“It’s not about gifts, for anybody. It’s about making memories. We’ll have our whole family together and that is the best Christmas present ever.”
As for Santa, he’s already counting down the days to next Christmas, when he and Mrs. Claus will be back in their usual place at Edmonton’s Londonderry Mall.
“We love children,” he said. “To see the smile on their face and the sparkle in their eye makes it all worth it.”
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