Santa’s helper visits premature babies for Christmas

Home for the Holidays

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KARE) — Every Christmas for the past 14 years, a Minnesota doctor has helped Santa Claus visit babies in a unit where not just any elf will do.

“They wanted me in the intensive care unit with the babies because there’s wires and things that some other Santas weren’t comfortable with,” said Dr. Jonathan Johnson. “I understood where all the wires and tubes were going.”

When he’s not helping Father Christmas, Dr. Johnson is a pediatric cardiologist.

“We’ve had a long journey with Dr. Johnson, so it’s pretty special he’s here,” said Heather Walker, whose month-old daughter Emily sits in her doctor’s lap attached to breathing and feeding tubes.

“I’m glad they’re getting to experience it; what all the other kids are getting to experience,” the doctor said.

Katie Roepke of Morristown, Minnesota says it’s a special moment for her son Jude, who was born weighing just over a pound.

“It means a lot because I don’t get to do this with him in the real world,” she said.

Down the hall, Dr. Johnson stopped to see Page Weston who spent nearly 10 months in the NICU.

“He gets to meet Santa and just in time to bring him home for Christmas,” Liz Page, Weston’s mom, said. “It’s just really special.”

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