Easton Kugler, 3, of Washburn bounced on his bed as Santa walked into his room in the Children’s Center of St. Alexius Medical Center.
“I have an owie,” he told Santa.
Easton had been in the hospital since Saturday with pneumonia, said his father, Lee Kugler. He was among about a dozen patients visited by Santa Claus and members of the North Dakota Fraternal Order of Police state lodge on Monday.
“Will you be a good boy so I can come see you again?” Santa asked.
Easton answered with a resounding yes as he opened the doodle board Santa gave him as a gift.
“Thank you. Merry Christmas,” he said.
“Christmas in the Hospital,” which is in its 12th year, is an extension of Fraternal Order of Police Cops and Kids program, Lodge President John Brocker said.
“It’s awesome,” said Lee Kugler who is hoping his son will be well enough to come home for Christmas. “It depends on his breathing, but he’s doing a lot better.”
“There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a hospital over Christmas,” Brocker said. “The reaction from that little boy earlier, that’s the hook. You see that kid smile and know you did something special.”
Santa also spread cheer throughout the neonatal intensive care unit and emergency room.
“It’s lovely,” said Everette Morris, father of 1-month-old Raizo Morris, who was in the hospital with meningitis. “It’s good for the ones still here for Christmas.”
Morris and other parents received a baby handprint kit.
Santa also delivered boxes of chocolate for hospital staff and took photos with each baby and their parents in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Cora Keigley, born Friday, will have to stay in the hospital another week. but she took her first picture with Santa.
“It made our day,” said Cora’s mother, Bailee Schick.
Santa also stopped at Sanford Health to cheer up the patients there.