A Kid Again hosts holiday party for more than 500 kids with critical illness, families

PARMA, Ohio -- You could feel the energy and spirit of the holidays at the Barons Bus Arena in Parma Sunday.

Despite a balmy 60 degree and sun splashed December day outside, it felt like a winter wonderland inside.

The holiday party, with many volunteers, is put on by the A Kid Again program.

The program is meant to give kids with critical illnesses a break from doctor visits, hospitals and treatment.

"Their calendars get full with when to take the next medicine, which therapist do they have to see, and what food do they have to get," said Christine Bucknell, executive director of the nonprofit Kid Again Adventures.

The holiday party gives moms, dads and their kids something to look forward to during the holidays.

"These ill children have brothers and sisters too. They also spend a lot of time in the hospital waiting room, so we include the whole family through the Kid Again Adventures; everybody gets a break from illness," Bucknell said.

Kids get to play games like putt putt, make gingerbread houses, get bags of candy, pick from a ton of gifts, have lunch and of course visit with Jolly Old Saint Nick.

"I did Candy Land and that was fun, but I also want to do putt putt," said eight-year-old Noelle Wingate.

Noelle, who reminded FOX 8 that her name means Christmas, said she's thankful for this special day.

"This day means that other families get to see other families that have suffered through what they've had and that's it," Noelle said.

The magical adventure is a bright spot for families, allowing them to put aside their worries, said Noelle's mother, Tiah Wingate.

"There's a lot of things we miss out on over the years. Some months are worse than others and to be able to do things that we otherwise couldn't do as a family, we have a family of seven, so there's a lot of things we don't get to participate in. Events like this sponsored by Kid Again means we'll be able to be part of it and it's just a great experience," Wingate said.

More than 500 children and their families attended the holiday party.

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