UTV parade to light up Springfield hospitals, bringing gifts to kids

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 9:38 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many children are battling respiratory symptoms in Springfield hospitals.

This Saturday, they will get a surprise. A group called “Ride the Thin Red and Blue Line” comprises retired first responders packing up their sleighs and parading past Springfield hospitals.

The gifts will go to Mercy and CoxHealth pediatric patients. You, too, can donate gifts.

“I had a letter from a gentleman the first time we did it that his son hadn’t smiled in over three weeks and did that day,” said Jon Hoffman, Ride the Thin Red and Blue Line. ”We decorate side by sides with lights on them, and they have snowmen, reindeer, and anything you can think of.”

Jon Hoffman, who runs the group, says it comprises around 300 people. This will be the third year of the event.

”Patients can go to their windows and look out and see all the beautiful lights,” said Sonya Kullman with Mercy. ”These toys will brighten their lives, brighten those days when they should be at home around a Christmas tree.”

The parade starts this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Mercy’s Children’s hospital near National and Sunshine. The group will make its way to Cox South Hospital.

”We will have boxes at the children’s side at Mercy and Cox,” said Hoffman.

They say there is no such thing as an overflow and that the toys will still be used throughout the year to help make sick children smile.

”If they have a “no more chemo party” at our Jane Pitt Pediatric Cancer Center, they get a toy then, too,” said Kullman. “It’s all about trying to make their experience at the hospital as positive as possible,” said Kullman.

The group will be at the Whitesides parking lot at Mercy starting around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. You can also drop toys off to them beforehand.

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