HARTFORD -- A patient at Connecticut Children's is playing Santa's little helper this year.
Katalina Litchfield is no stranger to spending holidays in the hospital. That's why she wanted to make a greater impact on children spending their Christmas at Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
“I decided to help Santa out delivering toys,” said Litchfield. She just turned 8 years old. As young as she is, she understands the true meaning of Christmas.
Beginning in October, Katalina collected close to 3 thousand toys to donate to Connecticut Children's for the holidays.
“I know what it feels like to be in the hospital for the holidays and I don't want other kids to feel that feeling,” said Litchfield.
Katalina has common variable immunodeficiency, meaning she needs life saving infusions to assist her immune system. She is frequently at Connecticut Children's.
“I understand Katalina waking up being scared that Santa's not going to be here, so this is kind of our mission to make sure Santa Claus has a lot of toys,” said Theresa Litchfield, Katalina’s mom.
Some of the toys Katalina donates end up in the hospital’s Snowflake Shop where patients and their families who need to be at Connecticut Children's pick out toys for the holidays. The rest make an impact year round.
“Kids come for a clinic appointment or if they have a procedure or are going to get a prize from the treatment room treasure box or if it can provide for some activities for them to do, so that we can really focus on their emotional needs, their developmental needs, and really thinking holistically about the whole child while they're here in the hospital,” said Child Life Specialist, Lauren Smizer.
Katalina just turned 8 on December 16. She asked people for $8 for her 8th birthday and ended up also donating more than $750 dollars to Connecticut Children's.