HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – The big man in red had some assistance in blue this year.
Santa and the Miramar Police Department delivered toys on Christmas Eve to patients at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.
“Nobody wants to be in the hospital, much less on Christmas,” said Sgt. Anthony Pacetti. “It’s unfortunate that the kids are here but we try to make their day a little bit better.”
The officers went into elf mode on Christmas Eve. They wheeled around boxes of brand new gifts – everything from bikes to stuffed animals to board games.
This is the tenth year the department has delivered these gifts and one little girl inspired it all.
“An idea came about to do this for other kids as it was done for me,” says Detective Carlos Villalona.
His daughter was 20-months-old when she lost her battle with cancer in 2009. Now, he wants to make sure he can bring even a little happiness to a hospital room.
“I can vividly remember today how I felt, and I saw my daughter and how she felt when, unexpectedly, strangers brought toys to the hospital,” Villalona said. “We were planning to spend Christmas in the room. It changes the whole day for them.”
That was the case for six-year-old Charlotte who was surprised with a new Barbie Doll.
“We’ve been through a lot,” her mother Isabel Osorio said through the tears. “She had pneumonia, but the pneumonia was really, really bad.”
She said she hadn’t seen her daughter smile so big in a long time.
“I have no words,” Osorio continued. “I’m humbled. I am really humbled for how people care about my daughter.”
It is also a nice gift for the officers who take part.
“This is not the typical responding to a call out on the street that doesn’t always put smiles on faces. This is something a little bit different for us that gives us pleasure, as well,” Pacetti explains.
They gave out about $1,000 dollars worth of toys, which came from community sponsors throughout the year.