Photo credit: West2East

Cheerful caroling could be heard through the halls of Seattle Children’s today thanks to two very special guests, Ciara and her friend Kelly Rowland. They surprised patients and families in the inpatient playroom with a holiday concert, accompanied by guitarist Barry Black. But that wasn’t the only surprise they had in store for kids at the hospital. The GRAMMY winners teamed up with Amazon and brought holiday cheer to patients and families in another very big way – with one of the largest Amazon deliveries of the year – a six-foot tall Amazon gift box filled with Amazon Fire HD 7s and Amazon Fire HD 8s for patients at Seattle Children’s.

“Caroling with the kids was the perfect way to brighten up the holidays at the hospital and surprising patients with gifts made it very special,” said Ciara.

Amazon’s delivery has become an annual tradition that brings joy to patients and families. This marks the fourth year Amazon has generously donated devices to the hospital, as well as gift cards for patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and toys from Seattle Children’s Amazon Wish List to families at Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC), a community clinic located in Seattle’s Central District.

“We are proud to give back to such amazing organizations and #DeliverSmiles during this special time of year,” said Sam Kennedy, an Amazon spokesperson. “We really appreciated the opportunity to partner with Ciara to make the holidays brighter for these deserving families and children.”

Singing along

Photo credit: West2East

Pascuala Mejia-Canastuj, 5, was excited to meet Ciara and Rowland, and was eager to help them open the giant Amazon gift box. According to her mother, Suzanne Weir, Pascuala loves to sing and dance and wants to be like Ciara when she grows up.

The last few weeks have been filled with doctor visits, and so singing carols in the playroom was a nice break.

“They brought a smile to these kids’ faces,” said Weir. “It helped get our minds off things and made us feel better. I felt like a weight had been taken off my shoulders. We could just relax and have fun.”

Pascuala has been in the hospital since the beginning of December. She recently underwent a liver transplant. Today’s visit helped celebrate a milestone: they got to go home.

An unexpected visit

Kourtney and Jake Harding weren’t expecting to be at Seattle Children’s this week, but a visit to the emergency department altered their plans. Their son, 6-month-old Ryder, was diagnosed with a bone infection and needed surgery.

Today, the family joined other patients and families in the playroom for the holiday concert. For Kourtney, who is an avid fan of Ciara and Rowland, the visit was surreal. It was a welcome surprise that brought joy to their family. Ryder loved the music and even got a hug from Rowland.

“They didn’t have to take time out of their busy lives to visit the hospital, but they did,” said Kourtney. “It was pretty cool to see all the kids so excited. We can’t thank them enough!”

Ciara makes regular visits to Seattle Children’s to visit patients with husband Russell Wilson. The Why Not You Foundation and Wilson are supporters of Seattle Children’s and Strong Against Cancer.

Jamming in the hallway

Photo credit: West2East

Declan Champers, 5, couldn’t contain his excitement when he heard Ciara and Rowland caroling through the halls. He stopped them and told them to “Wait right there.” Declan immediately went to his room to grab his guitar.

“He just wanted to play music with them,” said Declan’s father, Jesse Champers. “He has a song in his heart and loves music.”

The hallway jam session was just what the doctor ordered. Declan has been inpatient at the hospital since the day after Thanksgiving. Getting to play music with his new friends lifted his spirit.

“It was nice for him to get out of the room,” said Champers. “It was also encouragement for us moms and dads.”

Coding for a cause

Patients and siblings were also invited to Seattle Children’s schoolroom to join the Amazon Future Engineer team to learn about technology and create their own apps and games in a special event called Hour of Code.

Ian poses with the Amazon Future Engineer team during the Hour of Code.

Tanya Gunnell and her son, Ian Gunnell, are a long way from home. They traveled from Idaho to receive treatment at Seattle Children’s for a rare form of leukemia. Ian, 11, has been at Seattle Children’s since the end of August.

When they heard about the event, they were excited to participate.

“This opportunity is great for Ian,” said Gunnell. “He gets to meet new people and interact with them while also being exposed to new ideas. He’s excited to learn and is engaged in something new to expand his learning. The schoolroom is Ian’s school while we’re here.”

The event was a reprieve from their daily routine at the hospital.

“It’s nice to see him doing regular kid stuff,” said Gunnell. “It’s a break from our have-to-dos, like taking medicine on a schedule and checking his blood count.”

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