Santa brings holiday cheer to children with disabilities at Bridgeport breakfast event

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Santa Claus joined dozens of children with physical disabilities for breakfast on Sunday, as part of event organized by the Center for Independence in Chicago.

"You just see by the smiles on their faces, as soon as they see Santa Claus. I mean they just brighten up their life," said Dominic Difazio, president of the Old Neighbor Italian American Club, where the event was held.

The club, located in the Bridgeport neighborhood, also provided food and volunteers to help staff the special event.

"For the past 10 years we've come together just to celebrate Santa, celebrate being a child. There's no therapy. There's no hard work," said Patti Herbst, executive director of the Center for Independence.

The center aims to teach children and adults with physical disabilities to be independent, in a way that promotes self-esteem.

"Children with disabilities are like everybody else. They're filled with joy, they're full of wonder and awe and you can see it in the room," Herbst said.

Isaac, a child who has undergone 11 brain surgeries this year, was one of the children. He had a big grin on his face.

"I see Santa and I got my presents," Isaac said.

"It's absolutely wonderful, I know my son has so much fun here and it brings a lot of joy to him, especially when he has a lot of things going on," said Isaac's mom, Jill Yundt.

In addition to meeting Santa, the children enjoyed free entertainment and left with Christmas presents.
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