A former Richmond mall Santa got an early Christmas present in 2020 – a new heart.
Before taking to the skies on Christmas Eve, Santa (AKA Chris Pedlar) – who used to frequent Richmond Centre shopping mall with Mrs Claus (AKA Nancy Bean) – spoke of being able to don the big red suit once again, thanks to the staff at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Pedlar, now a jolly old retiree living in Langley, received a new heart on Jan. 5, after being told the previous year by a doctor to get his “affairs in order,” such was the grim forecast of his old heart failing.
The 70-year-old’s heart troubles began in spring 2019 when he went to his hospital complaining of trouble breathing.
Pedlar underwent a series of tests and was told he had congestive heart failure, with his heart operating at only 20 per cent capacity.
“The doctors said they couldn’t do anything for me,” Pedlar told the Daily Scan website.
However, he refused to accept the prognosis and pursued his doctors for more options.
In May, 2019, he was transferred to St. Paul’s where he had ventricular assist device (VAD) surgery that serves as a bridge to a heart transplant.
And at the beginning 2020, Pedlar got the call he was waiting for: a new heart was ready.
On Jan. 5, his transplant team performed the surgery at St. Paul’s, BC’s only centre for heart transplants, where one of 29 adult heart transplants surgeons were performed this year.
This year, while children are asking Santa and Mrs. Claus for the usual gifts, they’re also apparently keen to know the couple are staying safe from COVID.
“I’ve told the kids there are no cases of COVID at the North Pole and that the reindeer are very safe,” Pedlar told the Daily Scan.
“They worry about Rudolph in particular.”
Pedlar is donating a portion of the fees charged for photos of children with him and Mrs. Claus to BC Transplant.