Bringing Christmas to sick kids

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 2:50 p.m. December 1, 2016

Sergeant Jimmy Browne knows what it’s like to be in hospital with a sick child during the festive season.

A group of men in TPS uniform wearing Santa hats with people wearing orange aprons
52 Division Community Response Officers joined Home Depot employees in decorating the Ronald McDonald House for Christmas

Seven years ago, his son spent 10 days in the Hospital for Sick Children Intensive Care Unit. He was able to come home on Christmas Eve.

“You know your child is sick when they give you a suite to stay in,” he said. “I was there and I know what that helpless feeling is like.”

When Brown learned that officers from the 52 Division Community Response Unit were going to help decorate Ronald McDonald House on December 1, he immediately put his hand up to be included among the group of volunteers. The House serves up to 81 families to be able to stay near treatment at the Hospital for Sick Children.

“We really don’t realize how fortunate we are because many of us don’t need a place to stay this time of year,” he said. “I have been there and I know how much this could help to boost a child and his family. That’s why I am here doing whatever I can.”

Browne, along with Constables Nam Le, Juan Delgado Meneses, Anthony Lamanna and Gregory Seaforth, joined Home Depot employees for a few hours to set up Christmas trees and install decorations inside and outside the building where families and sick children get a chance to heal together.

“When we were here during the summer, doing some gardening, the police came by and expressed an interest in working with us to bring some Christmas cheer to the children who stay here,” said Mike Gawfrey, of Home Depot. “We are so glad to have them on board.”

Home Depot also brought 80 bags of gifts for the children.

Not to be outdone, the 52 Division officers brought colouring books and toys for the kids.

“Most of the kids here are not going home for the holidays, so we hope what we have here, and what we are doing today, will bring some smiles to their faces,’” said Le, who has been at 52 Division for the last 16 years.

Ami Armagost, the Ronald McDonald House program director, thanked the officers for their support.

“They are part of the community and it’s so good to see them coming out and doing this for us,” she said. “We truly appreciate their effort.”

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