Operation Santa Claus

Making spirits bright: Hong Kong children in hospital enjoy magic show and Christmas songs

Insurance firm donates time and money to bring fun and cheer to young patients

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 2:55pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 December, 2017, 10:31pm

Young patients in the children’s ward at Prince of Wales Hospital had a very special visitor, with Christmas just around the corner.

They were alerted by the sound of a bell, followed by a jovial voice saying “Ho, ho, ho!” Santa had arrived.

Joining Santa was a group volunteers from Manulife, who paid a visit to the young patients and brightened their day with a string of fun activities.

The party kicked off with a magic show in which the children were invited to take part and got a chance to tap a wand for added effect. The ward quickly filled with cheer and laughter, and the excitement ended on a high note as everyone sang Christmas songs to mark the festive occasion.

The insurance firm said it found the visit truly heart-warming, seeing so many happy faces enjoying this special gathering. It hoped the time spent together could bring joy and happiness to the children during the holiday season.

Volunteer Lillian Wat expressed deep satisfaction after seeing the children having so much fun.

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“You could tell from the looks of delight on their faces that all thoughts of feeling unwell had been, at least temporarily, banished,” Wat said.

This was Manulife’s 14th year sponsoring Operation Santa Claus, an annual charity campaign organised by the South China Morning Post and RTHK. The firm said it gave equal importance to both financial donations and volunteer work in making its sponsorship a success.

Manulife chose the Playright Children’s Play Association as its beneficiary. The group helps children who are in hospital prepare psychologically for medical procedures and surgery through play.

The insurance company planned to donate HK$300,000 to the association through Operation Santa Claus to support the provision of quality play services such as craft and group games for 3,000 hospitalised children in Hong Kong.

The firm hoped its contributions would help the children prepare psychologically for their hospital treatment throughout the year ahead.

“A major pillar of our corporate social responsibility commitment to the community ... is to cater for the health and well-being of children,” Manulife Hong Kong CEO Guy Mills said. “They are our future and every one of them is precious to us.”

Mills said the firm was “especially happy” to partner with Playright, describing it as a “worthy organisation” that had showed that play-centred activities were ideal to get children ready psychologically for dealing with the trauma of illness and any upcoming medical procedures.

And as a Christmas bonus, all the children received presents during the visit.