‘Santa Express’ brings Shriners Hospital and Primary Children’s Hospital Patients to the North Pole

SALT LAKE CITY -- Every year Delta Air Lines invites patients from Primary Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospital to take a flight to the North Pole.

Seven-year-old Estella Hogelin and her family joined others boarding up for a special trip.

Destination: The North Pole.

“My thought is, this is going to be awesome,” said Estella. “I thought that Santa was coming and giving some presents, but I did not know I was going to the North Pole today.”

Estella smiled ear to ear while stepping off the plane to where Santa and a few of his helpers were waiting.

A journey to the North Pole provided for families who have been through some long journeys of their own.

Estella’s mom, Mari Hogelin, said her daughter was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when she was 10 months old.

“We didn’t know what was happening,” said Hogelin. “We just thought something was wrong with the way she was walking.”

But Estella was just one of the many in the crowd with a condition.

Four-year-old Teagun Robinson was diagnosed last year with Hunter’s Syndrome.

“It’s an ultra-rare disease mainly in boys that there is no cure for,” said Tyler Robinson, Teagun’s Dad.

Robinson said his family drives down to Primary Children’s once a week from Afton Wyoming, for Teagun to have blood infusions.

“You really don’t understand what it’s like to have a sick kid until you’re there,” said Robinson. “It’s been really humbling.”

But Saturday wasn’t about being sick — stuffing stockings and sitting on Santa’s lap, it was all about fun and the magic of Christmas.