Originally created 12/26/05

Santa goes a little out of way to locate children in hospital



Santa couldn't go to Trey Davis' house on Christmas Eve, so jolly Old St. Nick did him one better - personally bringing the 5-year-old Hinesville, Ga., boy his gifts on Christmas morning.

Trey was one of about 70 little ones at the Medical College of Georgia's Children's Medical Center who had face time with Kriss Kringle before he returned to the North Pole on Sunday.

Among his presents were stuffed animals, a Batman bouncy ball and a two-level garage service center, all of which Trey unwrapped beside his 4-year-old brother, Corey, and 9-year-old sister, Nikki.

"I missed you last night, which is why I'm here today," St. Nick said between ho, ho hos. "I hope you continue to get better. And I pray that I don't see you here (at the hospital) next year.

Trey's mom, Flossie LeCounte, said her son was born with a heart defect in which the left side of the organ is undeveloped. At 5 days old, Trey underwent the first of three stages of surgery to repair his heart, and his Dec. 8 operation was the final step to recovery, she said.

Christmas morning marked the second day Trey was able to get out of bed and walk around, so the fact that Santa Claus was able to visit was truly special, Ms. LeCounte said.

"The children looked around for a chimney and said 'Mom, how is he going to be able to get here?' Well, after delivering presents all night, he made a special trip here and found them," she said. "We really wanted to be home, but it was wonderful for us to be here together even if we couldn't be home. Christmas is truly where we are."

Doctors hope to allow Trey to go home by New Year's.

This is the 13th year Santa has visited the Children's Medical Center on Christmas morning to present toys to the children and pose for pictures with the youngsters and their families.

He said he makes the time year after year so that the young patients at MCG can have just as merry Christmas celebrations as other children.

"You got to put a sparkle back in their eye," he said. "That's what it's all about."

Reach Dena Levitz at (706) 823-3339 or dena.levitz@augustachronicle.com.