Santa makes a special visit to children's hospital in Madison

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- For many families with children in the hospital, the holidays can seem out of reach during a time of uncertainty, as many of them are spending time away from their homes and loved ones. On Wednesday, a special visitor came into town to brighten everyone's spirits.

Santa came to the American Family Children's hospital in Madison to see the patients and spread holiday cheer, a tradition that's been at this hospital for the last 58 years.

An event sponsored by Madison Firefighters Local 311, Santa traded in his sleigh for a fire truck as he arrived to the front doors of the hospital.

He began in the lobby, as patients and their families eagerly awaited his arrival. Santa then went room to room for patients unable to leave their rooms.

For many families, the holidays can be difficult with a child in the hospital. One mother, Melissa Rudie, says with her son has been in and out of the hospital, something like this is phenomenal.

"It's blessing to have the normalcy of them being able to come here and be able to do this for these families, because it is hard being in a hospital away from your families," says Rudie.

With the help and donations of Madison Firefighters Local 311, presents were handed out to each patient, something that mother Angie Paulson says lifts the spirits of the children.

"They have been showering us with gifts I mean he had his biopsy on his birthday he just turned three. But you know it's tough, but the staff makes it bearable," says Paulson.