All aboard: Alberta kids with cancer take train ride to 'North Pole'
'The kids are very, very excited and I think the parents are equally as excited to be here,' says organizer
More than 100 children, all affected by cancer in some way, took a train to the 'North Pole' to meet Santa Claus and take a day off to have a little fun.
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Children — some with cancer, some with siblings with cancer — and their parents boarded the Polar Express at the Aspen Crossing railway in Mossleigh, Alta. Friday evening.
The event was organized with Kids Cancer Care, a charity that supports families with children with cancer.
For nine-year-old Paxton Carroll, who was diagnosed with a stage 4 cancer when he was seven, it was about meeting up with his friends.
"It was just really fun," said Carroll, who is now in remission.
"I got to see all my friends from camp."
Carroll's mother, Angela Schmidt, says following the diagnosis, things were bad.
"He was very sick, we couldn't go to school," Schmidt said.
"We could barely leave the house some days. It was draining on him and our family to go through that time."
Passengers boarded the train which travelled a short distance to a North Pole simulation, complete with a visit from Santa Claus.
Organizer Jenna Schwanke says the trip is a chance to step away from dealing with the disease.
"It is good to have these experiences for the hardships they have gone through," Schwanke said.
"Focus on things outside of the hospital … The kids are very, very excited and I think the parents are equally as excited to be here."
"It's a break," she said.
"It's a wonderful chance as a parent to talk to other parents who understand. A lot of other parents don't understand."