PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — Being four and having the responsibility of turning on the lights to a giant Christmas tree is a big deal. But it was no big deal for Nikolai Webster, who has already handled a lot this year.
Monday night was the annual Christmas tree lighting at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. Every year, the hospital chooses one child from the Studer Family Children’s Hospital to light the Christmas tree off Ninth Avenue.
“When we pick our ‘Miracle Child,’ we survey our staff and our physicians and our nurses and try to figure out what patient really stuck out to them this year, and they felt was really representative of the children’s hospital,” said Cat Outzen, the hospital’s director of community relations and children’s programs.
This year’s child was Webster, who is from Milton. In January, Webster fell and broke his nose. A CT scan, Outzen said, revealed that Webster had a large chiari malformation in his brain, which required surgery. He’s been in out of the hospital since May, which is when he had his surgery. After experiencing complications, he was finally able to go home in November.
Outzen said Webster was chosen because he had a great spirit.
“He had a great spirit. His family had a great spirit,” she said. “They really had such a positive outlook and really just lit up the room.”
About 50 people showed up for the tree lighting, including school-aged carolers. Santa showed up in an ambulance and greeted all the children.
The crowd in attendance cheered as Webster pulled the lever, lighting the tree.