Today is Christmas Eve, and I went to the cancer center in Surrey, BC. I was treated there ten years ago and volunteered for almost five years. I had a suitcase on wheels that contained my Santa Claus outfit; Santa shouldn’t ever be driving around in a car, because kids who still believe in Santa, might begin to have doubts that he’s real.
I know most of the staff at the cancer center on a first-name-basis, and everyone appeared to be happy to see me again – mainly because they knew what was inside the suitcase!
Several of the staff members were sporting Christmas-themed items, including one therapist who wore a large, multi-colored light necklace. Christmas spirit was in the air!
I hadn’t been back as Santa Danny, since I resigned from my volunteer position, three years ago, and I missed seeing the patients and staff.
During the almost five years of volunteering, I would get dressed as Santa Claus several times during each December – to see as many cancer patients and staff as possible. I soon became known as Santa Danny.
I also used to visit the adjoining Surrey Memorial Hospital. It was in 2012 that the spirit of Christmas returned to me during one of my Santa Danny visits to dying patients in the Palliative Care Department.
But before I went any further, I thought that maybe I should stop by the executive offices to let them know I was there and to get permission to make my rounds. I never had to do that in the past but thought that I would check in with the center’s management as a courtesy.
And that’s what made Santa cry.
Here’s a short video – I’ll let Santa Danny explain what happened:
I came home and was going to burn the Santa costume but decided to get dressed as Santa one last time to make Santa Danny tell you in his own words what happened.
Later, I spoke with a reporter from the CBC News Department, and she was surprised that BC Cancer Agency would allow their managers to invoke their ‘personal preferences’ – instead of following established policies and procedures.
Some of my other friends notified Global TV and other media outlets, but I haven’t heard from any of their reporters, yet.
I wrote a letter to the BC Cancer Agency and resigned from my current role as a member of the Patient and Partner Program. I was with the program for a few months and enjoyed working on four engagements (groups), including Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, and the Quality Improvement Facilitation Group. Joyce Lee, the director of the program, is a very dedicated person, whom I both admire and respect.
My buddy, Norm Wolff, also a cancer patient, had warned me about getting involved with the agency again. After what they had done to Norm and I, after years of dedicated volunteer service – I should have known better.
We both love the staff of the center – it’s just some of the management who are ignoramuses.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Here are a few of Santa Danny’s favorite photos over the last seven years. However, although I don’t have pictures of Santa with any patients, there are several hundred patients that took selfie pictures of Santa with them while they were at the center for treatments:
Today’s tune from Danny’s library (purchased):