A member of the Nassau police Emergency Services Unit rappelling team greets...

A member of the Nassau police Emergency Services Unit rappelling team greets a child at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park on Saturday. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

For 7-year-old Malachi Robinson, Santa Claus didn’t come down the chimney — he rappelled from the roof.

Robinson, who has sickle cell disease and is a patient at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, waved through the window Saturday from his room in Blumenfeld Family Pavilion as members of the Nassau County Police Department Emergency Service Unit came down the side of the building, donned in Christmas hats.

“It’s kind of a full circle moment. Malachi wants to be a police officer and he likes Spider-Man, so these tie in together perfectly,” said his sister, Vanessa Creary. “He hasn’t been talking to any of the doctors all morning because he’s just excited about the police officers coming down the side of the building.”

The effort, dubbed “Operation Holiday Cheer,” spread some joy to children unable to sit on the laps of a mall Santa or attend holiday light shows. From multiple ropes extended off the facility's roof, the officers came down one by one and shared a moment with children who eagerly awaited their arrival. 

Ricky Bruno, 38, a police sergeant with the Emergency Service Unit, was one of the cops who made the trip down the side of the hospital. He said cops who do the rappelling see “a range of emotions” from the children they wave to — genuine excitement, laughter and smiles visible from behind their masks.

“That’s really what it’s all about,” said Bruno. “The smiles on their faces, the stories that we hear from parents who thank us for what little part we can do.”

A parent himself and a former patient treated at the hospital for a brain tumor he was diagnosed with two decades ago, Bruno said he could feel the emotions from parents and children living through a difficult time.

“We see the shock and the heartache for the kids that have to spend the holidays inside,” he said.

Erin Donohue, director of hospital operations for Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said December was a particularly difficult time as illnesses bring children into the hospital and keep them away from normal holiday activities.

She said the event also connected with families, noting that some of the parents of children in the hospital were police officers. “They’re looking forward to something like that, it breaks up their day,” said Donohue. “This isn’t a place people choose to be, so we try to make it as great of an experience as possible.”

After officers made it to the ground, some made their way inside to hand out gifts, Donohue said.

For 7-year-old Malachi Robinson, Santa Claus didn’t come down the chimney — he rappelled from the roof.

Robinson, who has sickle cell disease and is a patient at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, waved through the window Saturday from his room in Blumenfeld Family Pavilion as members of the Nassau County Police Department Emergency Service Unit came down the side of the building, donned in Christmas hats.

“It’s kind of a full circle moment. Malachi wants to be a police officer and he likes Spider-Man, so these tie in together perfectly,” said his sister, Vanessa Creary. “He hasn’t been talking to any of the doctors all morning because he’s just excited about the police officers coming down the side of the building.”

The effort, dubbed “Operation Holiday Cheer,” spread some joy to children unable to sit on the laps of a mall Santa or attend holiday light shows. From multiple ropes extended off the facility's roof, the officers came down one by one and shared a moment with children who eagerly awaited their arrival. 

Ricky Bruno, 38, a police sergeant with the Emergency Service Unit, was one of the cops who made the trip down the side of the hospital. He said cops who do the rappelling see “a range of emotions” from the children they wave to — genuine excitement, laughter and smiles visible from behind their masks.

“That’s really what it’s all about,” said Bruno. “The smiles on their faces, the stories that we hear from parents who thank us for what little part we can do.”

A parent himself and a former patient treated at the hospital for a brain tumor he was diagnosed with two decades ago, Bruno said he could feel the emotions from parents and children living through a difficult time.

“We see the shock and the heartache for the kids that have to spend the holidays inside,” he said.

Erin Donohue, director of hospital operations for Cohen Children’s Medical Center, said December was a particularly difficult time as illnesses bring children into the hospital and keep them away from normal holiday activities.

She said the event also connected with families, noting that some of the parents of children in the hospital were police officers. “They’re looking forward to something like that, it breaks up their day,” said Donohue. “This isn’t a place people choose to be, so we try to make it as great of an experience as possible.”

After officers made it to the ground, some made their way inside to hand out gifts, Donohue said.

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