Children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases were all smiles Sunday afternoon when they attended the Disney-themed Christmas party hosted by the Panhandle Angels Foundation.
The non-profit organization offers support to the families of children who are being treated for cancer in Amarillo. Support is also given to families who have to travel out of town for treatment and have extended stays at the hospital.
"My son used to have cancer," Panhandle Angels Foundation Founder Kristina Hudson said. "His wish was to go to Disney World and, so, I got the idea from that kids like to have dinner with the characters. So, I thought how fun would it be for us to have Disney characters come and see them."
Non-Disney characters also joined for the fun. Characters from Princess Jasmine to Sleeping Beauty, Tigger, The Grinch and even a real-life Marine were present to chat and take pictures with the kids. Santa Claus also walked around spreading some cheer.
"We want the parents to smile," Hudson said. "We want the kids to smile. We want their hearts to smile. We want them to just enjoy today and just forget about yesterday, for now, and just enjoy today."
Many of the parents have learned to cherish each day with their child, both the good and bad days. This event brought laughs from the children, something some of the parents said makes it all worthwhile.
"These things inspire kids," Leroy Turner states. "You know, just to see them lifelike. You know, it's one thing to see them on TV, but to see them lifelike, it blows their minds. It's really nice."
What would a Christmas party be without gifts? Every child received a package before leaving, as well as drinks and snacks.