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Santa rides in style to visit sick children at NIH

Thursday - 12/13/2012, 9:25am  ET

This little redhead received several gifts from Santa. (Michelle Basch/WTOP)
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Michelle Basch,

BETHESDA, Md. - The Jolly Old Elf himself, Santa Claus, made a trip to Bethesda Wednesday night to visit kids who are battling serious health problems.

Santa rode in not on a sleigh but on a Harley Davidson motorcycle, and Montgomery County motorcycle cops replaced the reindeer.

With lights and sirens blaring, the crew arrived at the Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a place where sick kids can do "kid stuff" while they're getting treatment. Both the children and their parents can stay at the inn.

Seven-year-old Isabella said it was a good day because "Santa came" to bring lots of presents. She was also expecting a visit from the Tooth Fairy after a losing a tooth during surgery.

"It's amazing, just for Santa to be here with all these kids," said 15-year- old Kaitlyn. She's scheduled for surgery Friday to remove a tumor.

The children got to hop on Santa's lap next to the Inn's fireplace and talk with him about their lives.

Each child received several presents from Santa's gift sack, including a stuffed animal and a glow-in-the-dark necklace.

The kids also got to "Shop with a Cop" at the Inn's "Gingerbread Gift Shop" where they could pick out presents - at no charge - to give family members.

Turns out there's a reason Santa can really relate to the kids at the Children's Inn, revealed Police Sergeant Tom Harmon.

"Santa Claus is a cancer survivor."

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)