This is it. The culmination of hours of anticipation for dozens of sick children and their siblings on board an airplane in search of Santa Claus.
Because of the Children’s Wish Foundation, they and their siblings are 30,000 feet in the sky, where they have successfully intercepted the jolly man in red.
The plane dips; stomachs lurch. Santa has landed his sled on top of the aircraft.
“Someone is knocking on the emergency hatch,” the pilot announces over the intercom.
Screams of joy fill the cabin when the children get their first glimpses of a red suit.
Kathryn Stewart stands and peeks over the chair in front of her.
Seven years old, she is wearing a red and green dress. A small gold cross hangs around her neck. A black bandana covers her smooth, hairless head. Kathryn’s cancer recently returned after a remission.
She seems irritated, maybe even a bit bored as she runs up and down the airplane’s aisle. But then Santa reaches at her side and her mood changes fast.
He asks her what she wants for Christmas. Her mother, Heather Stewart, wipes tears from her eyes.
Kathryn asks for a bean-bag chair in a quiet voice. A pink one, she says.
“That’s Mrs. Claus’ favourite colour, too,” Santa says with a laugh.
He asks if there is anything special she wants for the rest of her family.
She shakes her head. Santa chuckles again.
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