Hospital patients receive Christmas cheer

ROYAL PALM BEACH, Fla. - Many families have traditions on Christmas.  The Steen family is no different.

Christmas Day for Ed Steen and his four children means meandering the hallways of the Children's Hospital at Palms West.

Steen was dressed in full Santa Claus gear on Wednesday.  His children wear holiday hats and pull huge wagons overflowing with toys down the hallway. 

Steen pops into each room.  The children help him hand out toys that are age-specific to each sick child and their siblings. 

"You never know who is going to be here, what kids are going to be here, how long they been here," Steen said.

Some of the young patients have been in the hospital for days, others for weeks.

Alexis Wallace, 2, came in with a serious eye infection.  She is frightened of Santa Claus at first glance.  This has been a tough few days for Alexis and her parents.

"She's got a brother at home, and we really wanted to be home with her brother.  And we got family at home, and we don't get to be there with everybody," her father Bill explained.

One of Steen's four children spent extended time at the hospital at one point, dealing with juvenile diabetes. 

"Who wants to be stuck in a hospital on Christmas?  I mean, that's not fun," Steen said.

The stacks of toys are donated by employees at the hospital and people from the community.

The Steens said the experience gives back.  Eight years ago, the kids' mother passed away.

Eldest child Matthew, who is 18, explained, "We probably would have done this with her if she was here, but it's definitely a way of keeping her in our memory as we do this."

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