Critically ill children go caroling with families at Palo Alto retirement center

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Critically ill children staying at the Stanford's Ronald McDonald House went caroling with their families to bring cheer to a retirement center and neighborhood in Palo Alto.

A local high school's ukulele club offered to take the kids caroling throughout the neighborhood.

Some of the kids who took part in the caroling are patients, awaiting life-saving procedures and others were their siblings and cousins.

On Wednesday at the Ronald McDonald House, the kids all got a chance to learn a new instrument before heading out to do some caroling.

Caroling is one way the Ronald McDonald House aims to help during what can be a difficult time of the year for patients and their families.

And inside Santa's workshop, parents were allowed to pick out free toys, not just for young patients, but also for their siblings. Each kid got up to three, but family care manager Juan Hernandez says singing for the neighbors can be the best gift of all. "All they're doing is just having fun, knowing that they're going through this really difficult time," he said.

Jacky Aguirre noticed the change in her sister. "She's usually really shy, but today she would dance and sing more," Aguirre said.

Singing is its own reward, but it didn't hurt to have an enthusiastic audience waiting at the retirement community nearby.

"They were so happy and they were at least a good part of the time they were in tune," one woman said.
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