Steve Howard will not be eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine with his feet up on December 25.
The 65-year-old is set to give up his time on Christmas Day to put a smile on people’s faces during a truly difficult period.
His selfless act will see Steve dress up as Santa, delivering presents to patients on the cancer specialist Weston Park Hospital Ward.
Despite patients often feeling unwell over Christmas and undergoing tiring treatments, Steve’s selfless support ensures that all patients are given a gift and are offered the chance to attend the Christmas Day Service in the hospital.
Steve, from Heeley, used to work as a porter at the hospital and now offers his services as a volunteer.
The selfless Santa has done this for the past two years and Steve thinks it’s very important to make Christmas special for those fighting cancer so that they too can enjoy the time with their closest family and friends.
Steve said: “It’s only fair that during this special time of year those who may be celebrating their final Christmas or their toughest one yet can do so with the same atmosphere that we all love during this time.
“I have spent many years at Weston Park Hospital and feel passionately about delivering the best quality of care, not just at Christmas, but all year round.”
“It’s important to remember that whilst we’re tucking into our Christmas dinners at home, there are some of us having to spend time in hospital with an uncertain outlook for the future.
“I always do what I can to raise a smile and at Christmas, no matter how old, patients like to have a visit from Santa and receive a special gift to make their day just that little bit brighter.”
The Star has once again teamed up with Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity. They are encouraging generous South Yorkshire folk to donate to its Christmas Star Appeal so the charity to bring some festive cheer to those receiving vital cancer treatment and care at Weston Park Hospital over the Christmas period.
Donations made to its Christmas Star Appeal, sponsored by Napoleons Casino, will enable the charity to provide a range of treats this Christmas including Christmas dinner for patient’s relatives, a special gift for every patient, plus crackers and trimmings to make the big day special.
The Christmas Star Appeal, which last year raised over £37,000, asks for donations to the cancer charity around Christmas time, which not only help fund items for patients over the festive season but also contribute to life-changing research projects and support ongoing care provisions for patients and their families living with cancer in the region.
In recognition of all donations received in support of The Christmas Star Appeal, the cancer charity will send out a silver star decoration for people to hang on their Christmas Tree at home with a space where individuals can write their own personal message of remembrance, celebration or hope.
In-Patient Matron at Weston Park Hospital, Beccy McGeehan said: “It’s incredibly important that people support the cancer charity’s Christmas Star Appeal this winter and think of those that sadly aren’t able to spend time in their own homes.
“Whenever possible we send patients home over the festive period, but in many cases, the severity of their illness means that we simply need to care for them over this time.
“Funding for the ‘festive wards’ grant allows us to make this time as special as we possibly can and no matter what the future holds, every patient has something to look forward to come Christmas Day.”
Charity Fundraising Manager, Helen Gentle said: “Donations to our Christmas Star Appeal this year are incredibly important for those facing the reality of spending time in Weston Park Hospital over the festive period and long into the future.”
“Sadly, not all of us will be at home with family on Christmas Day and support for the appeal could make the day just that bit brighter for cancer patients across the region. Next year, the charity will continue funding life-changing projects so that cancer patients across South Yorkshire and beyond can continue to benefit from the first-class facilities at the regions dedicated cancer hospital.”
Donations to the Christmas Star Appeal can be made via post, online at www.Christmasstarapppeal.org.uk or by texting WPCC15 followed by the amount you would like to donate (£1, £2, £3, £5 or £10) to 70070.