Pediatric cancer survivors celebrate Christmas in July at Raleigh museum

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Christmas came early for dozens of pediatric cancer survivors and their families Friday evening as Marbles Kids Museum was transformed into a winter wonderland.

Pediatric cancer survivors celebrate Christmas in July

Children eagerly waited in line to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus before creating their own custom bag of presents from his buffet of toys.

It was a chance for Janna Pogers' 3-year-old daughter to create happy memories after her brother passed away recently from infant leukemia.

"She's had a very hard year, so it's nice for her to do something fun like this," said Pogers.

For a second year, families across the area got a break from the hospital for "A Summer's Night with Santa" hosted by The Happy Tooth Dental Group and Zach's Toy Chest.

"We thought 'Wouldn't it be great if we could get the kids out of the hospital setting someplace where they could all get together and play,'" said Dr. Larry Moray. "They've been through things that most of us wouldn't even be able to imagine, and they've got a huge burden, and here's a chance for them to let it go."

Six-year-old Mikayla Schmidt has a lot to celebrate. She has been cancer-free now for five years.

"We would never be able to get to go out in public or anywhere there might be germs when she was going through treatments, so we're excited," said mother Lesley Schmidt.

Birthdays and Christmases have become milestones for many children still living with cancer making every moment between all the more treasured.

"We're just trying to give them as many happy memories as we possibly can, and hopefully there will be many, many more," said Moray.

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