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Patients at Phoenix Children’s Hospital get visit from virtual Santa

PHOENIX — Santa Claus made a special video conference call Monday from the North Pole to patients at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Children unable to leave the hospital because their illnesses got to experience the joy of meeting Santa.

“Being able to, each year, see 150-plus kids that were not having too much fun here at the hospital smiling and talking to Santa, and getting giddy, and telling Santa what they want,” said Ted Davenport with Plus 6 Technologies, which partnered with PolyCom and PCH for the event, “it’s about as emotional as it gets to watch, but it’s really kind of cool.”

First, kids went to the PCH’s “Fun Zone” to talk to Santa either one-on-one or in small groups. When they got there, an uplink allowed them interact with Santa via a live video conference.

Michelle Trapani with PolyCom said kids light up when they see Santa calling from the North Pole.

“For children that are unable to leave their bed, we’re able to provide a solution through the iPad, where they can virtually have a conversation with Santa, and see him, and tell him what they want for Christmas,” she said.

The kids are more comfortable with the technology than adults are, Trapani added.