Christmas, for many people, is a time of celebration. Part of the fun is the joy we feel when we are able to share these warm moments with friends and family.
Well, Christmas took on special meaning for two families last week as they shared the joy of a child's release from the hospital.
One of the families happens to occupy a large house at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Nancy Reagan spent last Friday at Children's touring the facilities and building the morale of the patients and their families.
She began by presenting a gingerbread house to the hospital with the help of a "weathered" Santa Claus (NBC weatherman Willard Scott). Mrs. Reagan then visited several patient rooms and delivered presidential goodies to flocks of fidgety children who shyly gathered to meet her.
While in the hospital's yellow wing, Mrs. Reagan startled members of the press by making a phone call. It went to the family of Katie Beckett, a 3 1/2-year-old girl from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who received national attention a few months ago when President Reagan used her case as a classic example of over-regulation.
Reagan said current Medicaid rules did not allow payment of the estimated $1,000 a month it would cost to care for Katie at home. She was therefore hospitalized at six times the cost.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Richard Schweiker decided to cut through some red tape for the holiday and signed a waiver so that Katie can go home without losing her benefits.
Mrs. Reagan wished Katie and her family the best for the holidays with the understandable concern of a mother who understood.