Each year the staff at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital throws an epic holiday party for patients and families in pediatric hematology and oncology.

When families spend lengths of time at the hospital, events like this can really bring a sense of relief and normalcy, especially during the holidays.

This year’s theme was Trolls with an original rendition of a play entitled “A Holly Troll-y Christmas.”

Doctors, nurses and other clinical staff all dressed as Trolls and performed a special play for children and their families.

“This is our 26th annual production—an amazing tradition of bringing our kids and families together, away from the stress and anxiety of the clinic and hospital, for a night of true holiday magic,” said James Fahner, MD, division chief for pediatric hematology and oncology.

The play is based on the popular animated film “Trolls” featuring some great Justin Timberlake songs.

Families enjoyed seeing their doctors and nurses on stage in what many said was an event to remember. In addition to the amazing performance, there were free carousel rides for all, a special planetarium show, photos with Santa and a Troll hair-making activity.

“We come back every year,” said Lajoy Frierson, whose daughter Asia lost her battle with cancer in 2013. “We collect toys and donate them back to the hematology and oncology division every year. The hospital was our second home and coming back is like seeing family. It really gives me a good feeling, and I know my daughter Asia loved everyone here.”

Seventeen-year-old Benjamin Peterson, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2015, said he comes back every year to spend time with the doctors and clinical staff outside the hospital setting. This year the event was hosted at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

“It’s a lot of fun getting to see everyone in a different setting,” said Benjamin. “I can tell they really enjoy themselves during the play and it makes us all laugh and have a great time.”

And Dr. Fahner agrees.

“I think this is truly ‘therapy’ for our entire team of caregivers,” Dr. Fahner said. “Seeing our precious kids and devoted families enjoying so much holiday cheer is a real comfort and joy to our staff. It is an inspiration for all of us.”