Krista Maddox smiled down at her daughter, 5-month-old Juliet, as Santa Clause approached Christmas morning.
“This is a privilege for me. Baby’s first Christmas,” Santa said when he visited her room at Children’s Hospital of Georgia. “And you’ve got your eyes open!”
It was a special moment for the Maddox family. Juliet has spent weeks of her young life at Children’s after being born with Downs syndrome. She also has an atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), a congenital heart condition that is common to children with Downs Syndrome.
The Maddoxes are hopeful Juliet will be able to have surgery to fully repair her heart in 2022.
This Christmas, however, a fever prolonged her latest stay.
“We didn’t think she would be able to get a picture with Santa, so it’s sweet they were able to get one with her,” Krista said.
Santa brought gifts for Juliet and even remembered her big brothers, Jameson, 5, and Jackson, 7.
Returning to his sleigh full of toys in the hallway with a few “Ho, ho ho’s,” Santa continued his journey to visit each child who was at Children’s Hospital of Georgia on Christmas Day.
“We’re truly thankful for the staff at Augusta University,” said Marcus Maddox, Juliet’s father. “They’ve been very supportive. Overall, it’s been a good experience despite the circumstances.”
The Maddoxes are giving back to Children’s, as well. In October, they started Miss Juliet’s Walk to raise awareness for Downs syndrome and raise money for Children’s, and plan to make it an annual event. This year, they donated $10,000 to Children’s, which was distributed between cardiology, PICU and Child Life. Donations can be made to $julietswalk on Cashapp, and her journey can be followed at Juliet’s Journey on Facebook.