Young flyers find Santa en route to his headquarters
Alexis Dalrymple, 8, meets St. Nick for the first time Tuesday on a flight bound for the "North Pole." The Children's Wish Foundation sponsored the trip, which took about 100 chronically ill kids on a two-hour journey from Vancouver to the northern Interior in a bid to find Santa Claus. (PHOTOS COURTESY OF RICH LAM)
Flying to the “North Pole” in a plane filled with passengers belting out Christmas carols while dressed in Santa caps wasn’t enough for Alexis Dalrymple and her quest for Claus.
After finally meeting St. Nick aboard an Air Transat flight bound for his headquarters, which was suspiciously close to Prince George, the eight-year-old said she’d draw him back to her Surrey home by fastening antlers to her dog.
“He was nice,” Alexis reasoned after Santa gave her a hug on the plane.
The Grade 3 girl, who battles chronic immune system problems, joined about 100 other sick youngsters Tuesday for the Children’s Wish Foundation annual Flight in Search of Santa.
“Fall and winter is really tough on our family,” Alexis’ mother Nathalie Dalrymple said.
Her daughter was also born without fully developed lungs, meaning frequent trips to the hospital during cooler months as she fights bouts of pneumonia. Christmastime isn’t often relaxing for the family.
About midway through the two-hour flight, Santa and Mrs. Claus appeared in the cabin, each with a sack of goodies in tow.
Alexis initially claimed she was a bigger fan of Mrs. Claus — perhaps a case of gender bias, according to Nathalie — but the young girl was beaming as soon as the big guy greeted her.
Cliff Dalrymple, Alexis’ father, said a trip like this is a perfect way to take a break from constant health concerns.
“Normally we’re going to the doctors’ appointments or hospital visits — even at home we have a lot of medical (responsibilities),” he said with Alexis in his lap, her face freshly painted with a pink snowflake.
“It’s just nice to come here and not worry about all that stuff.”