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Hospital brings Christmas to children

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Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's three hospitals expect to treat over 1,000 kids over the next couple of weeks. That means a lot of kids may not be able to be at home for Christmas, so Children's is working overtime to bring Christmas to the kids.

When it comes to smiles, Nylah Sloane's could light up Atlanta. In fact, the 11-year-old rarely stops smiling even though she's in a hospital bed.

Nylah likes the AFLAC Cancer Center at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston because she says things feel a little normal there, even though they're not.
     
"It's not what you think. Like if you expect it to be like, ‘Oh, man, I'm in the hospital.' It's not really like that. It just depends on how the people around you act toward you," said Sloane.

At Children's Healthcare, the sixth-grader says they're nice.  Really nice.

"Because what I'm going through, it makes me sometimes want to cry, but I know the people here, they really support me.  And I don't have nothing really to cry about," she said.

The sixth grader has osteosarcoma -- bone cancer -- in her leg. In November, surgeons replaced her knee, so she can't get out of bed.

By Nylah's side, through it all, has been Children's child life specialist, Layne Umberger.
 
"And I think she has her days where she feels down, or is having a tough time, making it through, but in the end, she just always has the most positive attitude and realizes that there is an end in sight," said Umberger.

Until they can get there, the kids -- a lot of kids -- will be there.

Santa knows that because he knows where the kids are, even when they're nowhere close to home.

As he complimented Nylah on her hat, Santa admitted that he was overdressed for Georgia, because he's been at the North Pole, and in NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
 
The whole time, Nylah was smiling like everything is going to be OK.
     
"It's so important because these kids have cancer, and it's really hard on their little bodies, and we just want to make sure that they can still have a happy Christmas, and that they're getting to do things that other kids are getting to do who are healthy and normal at home. We want to provide that experience here," said Umberger.

Nylah is grateful for a hospital that doesn't forget what it's like to be a kid at Christmas.

Thousands of Georgians have sent text messages to the kids who are in the hospital, through Children's Share Campaign.

Those messages will be shared through children's internal television system. To send a message to kids spending the holidays in the hospital, go to www.sharewithchildrens.org.
   

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