A “White Christmas” came early to kids at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California. The magic of the season came to life on Tuesday, December 19, when a guest dressed as Elsa, the Snow Queen in the movie Frozen, appeared in the hospital’s central activity area. She posed for pictures, visited with patients and families and invited kids to wish for snow with a rendition of the song Let it Go. As Elsa sang, kids’ eyes widened as they watched snowflakes fall in front of the hospital.
For some patients, it was the first time they had ever seen it snow outside. Kids quickly moved from tables where they were working on holiday art projects and pressed their faces against the window to see the snow.
Melissa Grialou, manager of Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life, smiled and said: “I don’t remember seeing snow in today’s weather forecast. It just goes to show that anything is possible at Shriners Hospital.”
The snow was provided by Julio Sevilla who operates Sevilla Magic FX, an entertainment company that specializes in character visits, magical effects and theatric snowfalls. In fact, the idea for the snow party at Shriners Hospital came from one of those characters — Tony Marsella, who enjoys visiting the kids as Spiderman. Mr. Marsella was confined to bed with an illness when he as 15 years old, and that experience inspired him to reach out to children as Spiderman.
Play is an important part of the healing process, and the Therapeutic Recreation and Child Life department schedules structured and unstructured activities in the hospital’s Central Activity Area each day. Shriners Hospital staff supervise activities that include everything from cards and video games to special visits by the Sacramento Ballet, theater troupes, superheroes, musicians and even a snow queen, who inspired a holiday flurry of fun.