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Thousands of people show support for kids hospitalized during the holidays in Phoenix

Posted at 9:52 PM, Dec 10, 2016

About 2,000 people showed their support Saturday night for children battling an illness and are stuck at the hospital for the holidays.

It was the 5th annual Ignite Hope candlelight walk over to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Led by Santa Claus on a fire truck, participants walked a mile from North High School to PCH, holding up lights and singing Christmas carols to brighten one's day.  

A lot of these families are embarking on the hardest journeys of their lives, but they’re not walking alone.

"My son has been through the hospital. We had a traumatic brain injury. We’re here to support the cause," said Ross Stewart, whose son spent three months in the hospital last year.

Outside the hospital, participants held glow sticks and candles, waving them high, so that patients inside could see them from their windows and know people are thinking about them this holiday season.

“It tugs at your heart, especially losing ours (son) last year — to see all the kids up there still and all the support from the community and showing their love to them," said Jason Linn, whose family traveled from Yuma to support the event. 

It began five years ago when friends and families of a former PCH patient held a candlelight vigil for her. Katie Wagner, 15, was battling cancer.

“This year, we’re looking at thousands of people, and to see all of this come from Katie and how it’s grown, and how many people were able to help, it’s pretty amazing," said Jen Domres, Katie's aunt. 

Katie has since passed away, but she’s not forgotten. Neither are all the other children spending the holidays in a hospital bed...and the community is making sure they know that.