FOX San Antonio - The Valdes View
By: Michael Valdes
From the food to the presents to a visit from Santa himself. It's a holiday party with everything you would expect. Except for the unexpected situation many of these kids are in. They are fighting cancer.
"We run their lives in a very strict regimented manner," says Dr. Mahendra Patel. "And this was one time of the year that we could get together as a family, all of us, and share our joy. Our grief. Our sadness. But above all, partake in the spirit of this time of year."
Dr. Patel started this Christmas tradition eight years ago for his young patients. Patients like Kory Kubecka, who passed away from leukemia at the age of eleven. That's when Kory's parents got involved and started a motorcycle Santa run that now brings dozens of gifts to the gathering.
"He would be behind this if he were still here," says Santa Run organizer Tony Banelli. "He would do this with us. I know he is in heaven smiling at us for doing this. I think it's a wonderful thing. "
Even the kids get into the giving spirit. The past couple of years, cancer survivor Adam Bays has donated his gift to the hospital. This year, he got movies for teenagers because, Bays says, "You can only watch "Casper the Friendly Ghost" for so long before it gets old. "
A request other patients, like Kaylee Caraw, certainly appreciate. She was only allowed to leave the hospital for three hours to come to the party. "I have many things wrong with me right now but i am getting better," says Caraw.
Patel says, the ultimate work of getting better is still ahead and no one can be sure how that road will end. What they do know is that, at least for these few hours, they are just kids. And it's Christmas.
"It's important for us to know that as these children walk the path of life and death, some will not be cured," says Dr. Patel. "And they will be with our Lord. This gives us a chance to say, we will not forget them. They will always remain within our heart."
A bar-b-que fundraiser is held in LaSalle, Texas in the summer time for the Kory Kubecka Santa Run. That helps them to buy all those gifts. The kids even write a letter to Santa so his elves on motorcycles know exactly what's needed. Dr. Patel wanted to thank the Saint Anthony Hotel Downtown for all they do for this annual event.
Tuesday, December 18 2012, 07:09 PM CST
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