This Santa, 4, keeps fellow kids in mind
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com December 22, 2013 7:08PM
Hudson Neth gives a thumbs-up as he poses among the toys he collected to donate to Lurie Children's Hospital. | Supplied photo
Updated: January 24, 2014 6:17AM
A couple of months ago, while he was a patient at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, 4-year-old Hudson Neth announced that he already knew what he wanted for Christmas.
Last week, his parents, Vicki and Nathan Neth, of Oak Forest, helped make his wish come true.
Santas are typically jolly and round with a heavy white beard. Rarely are they 4 years old.
So it was no wonder that Vicki and Nathan were caught off guard when Hudson announced back in October what he wanted for Christmas. He was hospitalized at the time, recovering from an appendectomy and a subsequent infection.
“While the nurse was taking his vitals, he told us he wanted to dress like Santa and give out toys to the kids in the hospital,” his mother said.
“What 4-year-old thinks of something like that? It was so heartwarming and such an unselfish thing to do, we ran with it. We didn’t want to spoil it for him,” she said.
By all accounts, Hudson is a typical 4-year-old. He attends prekindergarten classes, takes tae kwon do lessons, loves to play with Legos and was too shy to be interviewed for this article.
“He’s a very sweet kid, but he has his moments. What 4-year-old doesn’t?” Vicki said.
But his own recent hospital stay apparently made a lasting impression on him. During his 13 days in the hospital, volunteers would play games with him and give him toys, explaining that the toys were donated by someone else.
“He realized that there were other kids in his situation,” Vicki said.
His parents did all they could to make his unusual Christmas wish come true. They got in touch with a hospital coordinator, and using the hospital’s own wish list, his mother posted a request for donations of unopened toys on Facebook, and passed out flyers to her bowling team and to family, friends and co-workers.
Within three weeks, they had filled 20 boxes with coloring books, Matchbox cars, dolls, games, stuffed animals, other toys and gift cards.
“People were so generous. We have a small house and it was hard to move around. It was crazy here,” Vicki said.
With donated cash, Hudson shopped for more toys, and donated a few himself, including Legos and Littlest Pet Shop toys. His three siblings helped pack the boxes.
Then he and his parents delivered the toys to the receiving dock at Lurie Children’s Hospital on Dec. 16, and Hudson received a certificate of appreciation from the hospital.
“He was really excited,” his mom said, even if he was not allowed to deliver the toys in person.
After sending out thank you notes to his dozens of donors, Hudson still had a little list of his own for Santa — Legos and Transformers — a simple, and typical, request.