Players from the Penrith Panthers have swapped the footy field to take up roles as Santa’s helpers this Christmas.
Being in the hospital at Christmas time is never easy, but the visit from several Panthers players last week made things a little brighter for those in the Children’s Ward and Birth Unit at Nepean Hospital.
“It was a bit of fun to have them come in, and they brought their mascot with them which was also good,” said Acting Nurse Unit Manager of Nepean Hospital’s Children’s Ward, Rebecca Frost.
“Being in hospital at any time is hard, but at Christmas particularly for kids, so we try and have lots of things for them to do. Having the Panthers come to visit everyone and have a chat really lifted everyone’s spirits.”
As part of their visit to the hospital, which was their first since before COVID, the players took the time to meet patients and staff, sign merchandise, and hand out hundreds of gifts to the children.
Ms Frost said it was just as enjoyable for the staff to see the children’s faces light up, especially those who were meeting their idols.
“There was one little boy who was due to head out, but he realised they were on their way in, so he made his Mum stay until they’d gotten all the way around the ward, so they could see him before he went home,” she said.
With the least COVID restrictions imposed since prior to the pandemic in 2019, the most exciting gift for patients this year has been being allowed to have visitors again.
“It’s great to have people coming back on the ward, it always gives a bit of a lift to staff and patients,” Ms Frost said.
Staff at the hospital also work hard decorating the wards to make the Christmas period a little brighter for those who are away from home and their extended families.
Cassidy Pearce is a news and entertainment journalist with The Western Weekender. A graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, she has previously worked with Good Morning Macarthur and joined the Weekender in 2022.