Holiday

Ill children get prime seat for holiday parade

Posted November 23, 2013

Among the tens of thousands of people celebrating the start of the holiday season in Raleigh Saturday morning was a group of very special children.

— Among the tens of thousands of people celebrating the start of the holiday season in Raleigh Saturday morning was a group of very special children.

The Me Fine Foundation offers many types of assistance to the families of children being treated at Duke and UNC Children’s Hospitals. On Saturday, that help came in the form of a safe place to watch the WRAL-TV Raleigh Christmas Parade.

A group of terminally ill children and their families gathered on a balcony at the Sheraton Hotel overlooking Fayetteville Street for a bird's-eye view. There, they could enjoy the parade without the exposure to damp, chill and germs.

 "It's wonderful because he can be in a controlled environment with other kids like him," said Elissa Gaus, mother of 8-year-old Micah.

A group of ill children celebrate at the Christmas parade Sick children celebrate with Christmas parade

Stage Four brain cancer and the treatment it entails makes Micah more susceptible to germs. Without the special access provided by Me Fine Foundation, the parade would be a luxury Micah couldn't risk. 

"They can't even be exposed to a cold germ, because if they are exposed to a cold germ they could get sick and end up in the hospital and potentially die," said Me Fine's Program Director Diane Moore.

"When your child is critically ill, you feel like the only person in the world who has ever been in that situation," she said.

Elissa Gaus agreed. "It's tough," she said, "But luckily and unfortunately, there are a lot of other parents going through it." 

The parade allows both parents and children to forget about those troubles for a bit and focus on the hope that the holiday season brings. 

On the balcony and along the street, eyes grew wide at the arrival of Santa Claus, the culmination of the two-hour parade.  

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