BETHESDA, Md. (July 21, 2019) — Seriously ill children staying at The Children’s Inn at NIH in Bethesda are looking forward to a special summertime appearance by St. Nick on Wednesday, July 24 at 4:30 p.m. and to get a police escort with wailing sirens to “shop with a cop and Santa” at Target at RIO at 5 p.m.
Riding a Harley-Davidson Santa, escorted by a group of motor officers from the Montgomery County Police Department, will greet children with serious and rare diseases who are staying at The Inn to participate in clinical trials at the NIH. To make childhood possible despite illness, hospital appointments and medical treatments, The Inn and Montgomery County Police Department established Christmas in July in 2016.
After greetings and photos, children and their families will board a bus to a local toy store, escorted by Santa and his motor elves with sirens blaring.
The Inn estimates that about 50 children will participate in this year’s celebration. Visiting Target at 25 Grand Corner Avenue in the RIO Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg, Maryland, the children will be paired with MCPD officers who will help them shop for toys using donated gift cards.
Gift cards are donated to The Inn by generous supporters. Target is providing 25 additional $10 gift cards and Slurpee coupons to all the children.
After shopping is complete, Santa and his elves will accompany children and families to a pizza dinner at a Rockville restaurant before escorting children back to The Inn.
Founded in 1990, The Children’s Inn at NIH is a private nonprofit with the mission to provide “a place like home” for children and their families participating in pediatric research at the Clinical Center of the world-renowned National Institutes of Health. The Inn reduces families’ burden of illness through free lodging and therapeutic and recreational activities as well as educational support to children. Since opening in 1990, more than 13,000 families from all 50 states and 94 countries have found a second home at The Inn. As a partner in discovery and care with the NIH, The Inn strives for the day when no family endures the heartbreak of a seriously ill child. For more information about The Inn, visit childrensinn.org.
Communications Manager, The Children’s Inn at NIH
Marketing and Communications director, The Children’s Inn at NIH