The holidays can be the happiest time of the year for many kids. But for a child having to spend the season in a hospital, it can be hard not enjoying the holiday season at home with their families.
You can barely see Jayde McKean’s face through her surgical mask. But there’s no mistaking the look of amazement and delight in her eyes as she walks into a room stocked with holiday gifts at university medical center’s children’s hospital.
Jayde is 12 and has cystic fibrosis. She’s been coming here for treatment since she was 3. On Thursday, thanks to the 99th Contracting Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, she’s getting the surprise of her young life.
She got clothes, necklace and the gifts of gifts, skull candy headphones.
“Ooh! It’s even got red skulls on it,” Jayde says as she opens her gifts. “Thank you, everybody, because now i’m rockin’!”
So many of the children UMC are in and out of the hospital and don’t always have the happiest of holidays, like little Najahala Hilliard.
Najahalla was admitted last year with severe burns. “She didn’t have a Christmas last year. So this is her Christmas,” her grandmother says. “She’s really going to enjoy this Christmas.”
Sgt. Adam Aikens, a contracting officer at Nellis, hauled in all the gifts donated by service members and their families. Aikens understand that some parents can barely afford to keep up with the medical bills let alone holiday gifts for the kids. “It’s about giving back and helping others. It’s just the looks on the faces that really ties it all together for me,” says Aikens.
For Aikens, the looks of surprise on the faces of the children and the joy they get this holiday are priceless.