Grateful Santa visits Westmead on Christmas morning

Santa Claus met Westmead’s Elf on the shelf, cleaner Monica Lesslie

Meet Alastair Graham, Westmead Cancer Centre patient by day and Santa Claus by night.

2020 wasn’t an easy year for him. In late June Alastair was diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Soon after the diagnosis he had surgery at Blacktown Hospital and started a four-week course of radiotherapy at Westmead Princess Mary Cancer Centre.

Alastair was overwhelmed by the level of attention and care he received.

“Everyone at the Centre has been so good to me during this difficult time. I had daily radiotherapy sessions and it made such a big difference being surrounded by these amazing people,” Alastair said.

The-68-year old resident of Seven Hills decided to “give back” to the hospital and came to cheer up Westmead patients and staff on Christmas morning, dressed as Santa Claus.

Santa Claus and Westmead maternity unit staff

“I am not in the position to donate thousands of dollars, but I still wanted to express my gratitude,” he said.

“I have worked as a Santa Claus in shopping malls before, so I decided to pay a visit to Westmead and make people smile.

“Some patients are alone here on Christmas because their family is inter-state, or unable to visit for other reasons. I wanted to cheer them up.”

Impressed with everyone’s Christmas scrubs: Santa could not resist taking a few photos with Westmead staff.

After-hours nurse unit manager Marjorie Raggett said Santa’s visit brightened up Christmas morning in the surgery department.

“What a nice surprise! We did not expect to see Santa today – this is the first time we have had such a special guest. Thank you for coming to see us! 

“I wish everyone a joyful day and safe 2021,” Marjorie said.