Boston firefighters bring holiday cheer to children at Shriners Hospital

With lights flashing and sirens blaring, several Boston firefighters will respond to a different call of duty on Wednesday: to spread some holiday joy at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.

The Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation will deliver gifts to more than 30 patients — from infants to those in their 20s — in pediatric burn care at the hospital, said Steve Turley, a director and co-founder of the foundation.

A “jolly and bearded” Santa Claus will arrive outside the hospital’s burn unit in the bucket of Tower Ladder 3 and wave to the young patients through their windows, Turley said. Santa will then come through the hospital, elves in tow, to deliver wrapped gifts to all of the young patients and some of the staff members, he said.


The Burn Foundation, begun by Boston firefighters in 2003, provides emotional and financial support to burn victims and their families. This will be the 11th year that the foundation visits the Shriners Hospital in Boston, which is “world renowned in their burn care,” Turley said.

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Many of the children, who come to Shriners from all over the world, suffered second- and third-degree burns, some of them over more than 80 percent of their bodies.

Although the gesture by the foundation is intended for the children, Turley believes the firefighters may even get a bit more out of the visit.

“This is such a tragic and transitional phase in [the children’s lives], and to be able to see them smile and be happy — for just a moment — is really more of a gift for us,” Turley said. “It may sound corny, but it’s the truth.”

Trisha Thadani can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @TrishaThadani.