When children are too sick to be home for Chirstmas

Reported by: Erik Avanier
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Updated: 12/25/2013 6:17 pm
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee(WDEF) - While most children had the luxury of opening Christmas presents with their parents and siblings at home, many were too sick to leave their hospital bed.

Unfortunately, not everyone goes home for Christmas, especially children who are so sick that they must remain in the hospital. That's why the staff at Children's Hospital created a holiday environment to help sick children take their mind of their illness.

"It's really important for their healing and that while they're here and their sick they feel like they can still celebrate Christmas and that people still remember that they're here and that people want to make them feel special," said Children's Hospital child life specialist Maggie Butler.

On Christmas Eve, James Arnett and his family walked through the hospital doors with multiple bags filled with gifts for every child who couldn't go home.

"Children are special. They're special gifts to this world and we feel like the ones that have to spend Christmas in the hospital need a little extra boost to cheer them up," Arnett said.

But it's not just the children who need cheering up. Cherish and Jeremy Mull have endured much stress as a result of their seven-week old baby boy being in and out of the hospital.

"It doesn't feel like Christmas. We spent Thanksgiving here and now we're spending Christmas here and it doesn't feel like Christmas to me right now," said Jeremy.

"But on the other hand, We're thankful to have him. We're thankful for everything they have done, said Cherish.

According to the couple, the staff has done a lot to keep their son Liam alive; which is why his first Christmas is an emotional one for mom.

"I have the emotions for the two of us. I cry a lot.  I lean on him. He's the one that likes to know the numbers and like to know every lab result and how it's going. And how it's getting better," Cherish said.

The couple says they can relate to any other parent who's sick child can't come home for the holidays and they offer good advice.

"Make the most of of it you can and remember that little things like this like miracle babies and blessings that are in your life and try to stay positive," Cherish said.

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