SEATTLE — A special Santa Claus slowly made his way through the hallways of a Seattle hospital this week, determined to spread cheer throughout what would be his last holiday season.
This Santa — who also goes by Mike Hathaway — had been battling an incurable lung disease for the past five years, and his time was coming to an end, according to KOMO News. His dying wish was to fulfill the wishes of children who had to spend the holidays in the hospital, just like him.
"Give them some fun, some hope, some peace, some love, some understanding," Hathaway told KOMO. "Children need to know how much they are cared for. How much they are loved. This is something I can do."
So Hathaway — already armed with a white beard and Santa hat — coordinated with his doctors and family to help him turn his hospital bed into a Santa float that would allow him to wheel around and hand out candy canes to the sick kids in surrounding rooms.
Eight-year-old Heidi Flynt was staying in the room next door, receiving treatment for serious injuries from a car crash, KOMO reports. She was the first patient to receive a visit from Santa.
"I got two candy canes. It just gives the kids something to smile about," she said. "He's a really kind guy and he really likes kids."
Hathaway also wanted to spend his last hours showing his doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital how grateful he was for their care.
"When it happens I will be in comfort and surrounded by beautiful people that know how to make people happy, safe and comfortable in the last days, the final moments," he said.
Santa's final ride will be remembered by all who witnessed it — Hathaway passed away later that evening, surrounded by his wife and children, KOMO reports.