KU Hospital surgeons save Santa's leg

Posted at 6:19 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 19:24:33-05

Children in the pediatric unit at the University of Kansas enjoyed a visit from Santa on Thursday.  They received presents and talked with him.

But they had no idea this Santa is also recovering from a serious knee injury.

Allen Young and his wife Laura played Santa for several year for children at The University of Kansas Hospital.

Unfortunately, last year Laura died and Allen discovered he had a serious knee infection. 

Doctors thought they would have to amputate his leg; but Allen begged doctors to save it so he could continue playing Santa. 

After four surgeries and months of rehabilitation, Young's doctors were able to save his leg. 

Now on the year anniversary of his wife's death, Allen Young dressed up as Santa and went back to the pediatric unit where he and his wife played Mr. and Mrs Clause to spread holiday cheer.

"My wife told me before she died to continue playing Santa.  She loved babies and she loved kids," said Allen Young.

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. David Anderson celebrated with his patient.

"It's incredibly rewarding, absolutely incredibly rewarding," said Dr. Anderson.

Allen Young is still recovering from the surgeries and rehabilitation. 

His visit Thursday at the pediatric unit was his first time playing Santa since his operation and the passing of his wife.

"And if I can make them smile and laugh and forget a little bit  of pain, that's what I'm here for," said Young.


Cynthia Newsome can be reached at

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