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Santa Was Called To The Bedside Of Terminally Ill Boy — And The 5-Year-Old Said His Last Words In Santa's Arms

Photo: New Africa / Shutterstock 
little boy, sick, Santa Claus, christmas

As a terminally ill little boy was about to take his final breath, he had one final request for a very special person. The person was able to ensure that the little boy’s final wish would be granted so that he could pass on peacefully. 

A five-year-old terminally ill little boy got a visit from Santa Claus after he worried that he was going to miss Christmas. 

Eric Schmitt-Matzen from Knoxville, Tennessee spends the holiday season making public appearances as Santa Claus. With his long white beard and glasses, he fits the description of the fictional character perfectly! 

One evening as he was returning home from a gig as Santa Claus back in 2016, Schmitt-Matzen received a phone call from a nurse at a local hospital. The nurse informed him that there was a terminally ill five-year-old patient who did not have much time left. His last request was for a visit from Santa since he was afraid he would miss Christmas. 

"He was more concerned about missing Christmas than dying," Schmitt-Matzen told WBIR. “When I got there, it was my job to make sure he got Christmas.” 



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When he arrived at the hospital dressed as Santa, he was greeted by the unidentified little boy’s mother, who he claimed gave him a present to give to her son when he visited his bedside. As he entered the room, the little boy’s family left to give them time and space to spend together during what was, unbeknownst to them, his final moments. 

The little boy died in Santa’s arms. 

Before he took his last breath, the little boy told Santa that he was afraid that he was going to miss Christmas. “Well, you’re not going to miss Christmas, the elves already had your present, we knew you wanted this for a long time,” Schmitt-Matzen assured the little boy. 

His claims left the little boy with a “huge grin” on his face. “When you get up those pearly gates, you just tell them you’re Santa’s number one elf,” Schmitt-Matzen tearfully recalled. 

Then, Schmitt-Matzen recalled that the little boy gave him a hug and said, “Santa, can you help me?” 

Santa Claus was called to the bedside of a terminally ill little boyPhoto: Africa images / Canva Pro

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It was then that the little boy passed away in Schmitt-Matzen’s arms. 

He told the Knoxville News Sentinel Columnist Sam Venable that after the little boy was gone, his mother entered the room and began screaming, overcome with grief. “I spent four years in the Army with the 75th Rangers, and I’ve seen my share of [stuff],” Schmitt-Matzen revealed. “But I ran by the nurses’ station bawling my head off.” 

The experience left him considering retiring from playing Santa Claus for good. However, one last children’s show changed his mind. 

Santa Claus was called to the bedside of a terminally ill little boyPhoto: Latino Life / Canva Pro

“When I saw all those children laughing, it brought me back into the fold. It made me realize the role I have to play,” he shared. “For them and for me.” 

The holiday season can be especially difficult for those who are terminally ill or have terminally ill family members. Most families are getting together for parties and opening gifts under the tree, while others are preparing to say goodbye to their loved ones. 

It is the little things that can bring so much joy to those going through the unimaginable. A visit from Santa Claus with the promise that you will not miss Christmas, wherever you may wind up, may just make all of the difference in the world. 

While the little boy’s fate was unbelievably sad and tragic, his last few moments were filled with bliss. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.