Ty Harl, 3, points at a wheelchair full of toys on Thursday when Santa came by to visit the children in the Henry Mayo Emergency Department to bring toys, with help from Zach's Miracle. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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Santa Claus traveled to Santa Clarita two days early this year to drop off toys and presents to children in the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital Emergency Department.

Thursday afternoon, Santa traveled throughout the department passing out gifts and spending time with children undergoing procedures or seeking medical attention.

Franny Marshall picks out a gift for her son, Cayden, 2, as he sleeps during a visit to the Henry Mayo Emergency Department on Thursday. Santa dropped by the emergency room to visit with kids and bring gifts, with help from Zach's Miracle. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Franny Marshall picks out a gift for her son, Cayden, 2, as he sleeps during a visit to the Henry Mayo Emergency Department on Thursday. Santa dropped by the emergency room to visit with kids and bring gifts, with help from Zach’s Miracle. Katharine Lotze/Signal

“It’s really important for kids in the emergency room to see that people care enough to visit them and bring them toys to make their visits a little easier,” said Maria Orem, marketing and communications specialist at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

The gifts were from the charitable group Zach’s Miracle, which collects and distributes toys to children in hospitals each year.

Lauren Sorrells, Zach’s mother, created the organization after her newborn son spent several months in the hospital during the holiday season when he was diagnosed with Lissencephaly, otherwise known as “smooth brain.”

Franny Marshall takes a selfie with Santa as son Cayden, 2, sleeps in her arms during a visit to the Henry Mayo Emergency Department on Thursday. Santa visited children in the emergency room to hand out presents, with the help of Zach's Miracle. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Franny Marshall takes a selfie with Santa as son Cayden, 2, sleeps in her arms during a visit to the Henry Mayo Emergency Department on Thursday. Santa visited children in the emergency room to hand out presents, with the help of Zach’s Miracle. Katharine Lotze/Signal

Following the diagnosis, Sorrells was not sure if her son would make it to Christmas; however, this changed when a volunteer brought in a musical night light that put a smile on Zach’s face for the first time in weeks.

“She brought in this little fish toy that lit up and had music in it,” Sorrells said.  “At this point he smiled for the first time in three weeks.  I will never forget that volunteer and what she did for our family.”

Now, 16-month-old Zach is what Sorrells calls “a miracle” and Sorrells is working to make the same difference for families in similar situations during the holiday season.

Santa gives an encouraging bump to James Powell, 5, during a visit to the Henry Mayo Emergency Department on Thursday. Santa and Zach's Miracle dropped by to deliver gifts to kids in the emergency room. Katharine Lotze/Signal
Santa gives an encouraging bump to James Powell, 5, during a visit to the Henry Mayo Emergency Department on Thursday. Santa and Zach’s Miracle dropped by to deliver gifts to kids in the emergency room. Katharine Lotze/Signal

“A little giving that you do makes such a different for a family,” Sorrells said.  “Having some good news come through the door is so amazing for families.”

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Christina Cox
Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.
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