A family takes a picture with Santa Claus at the Ronald McDonald House in Streeterville. (Credit: Nancy Harty)

A family visits Santa Claus at the Ronald McDonald House in Streeterville. (Credit: Nancy Harty)

CHICAGO (CBS) — Santa paid a visit today to some children who are happy to be celebrating Christmas out of the hospital, reports WBBM’s Nancy Harty.

250 children who stayed at the Ronald McDonald House near Lure Children’s Hospital in the last year came back to celebrate Christmas and their improving health.

Kelly Richardson of South Holland was there with Cameron who had surgery to clear an obstructed airway when he was just nine weeks old.

She says it felt like home for her, her husband and her son.

“After he had surgery, I was able to come here, relax and we were able to switch off so I could get that needed break too and still spend the time with my four-year-old,” said Richardson.

Crystal Portner of Mt. Morris is grateful for the showers there while she was watching over her 1yo daughter Madden who had spinal surgery.

Katie Gillihan spent six months in the house – along with her 6 year-old daughter Layla – while her daughter Sophia underwent six different surgeries.

Sophia was born a year and a half ago with her intestines outside her body.

There are currently four Ronald McDonald Houses in the Chicago area – Streeterville and Hyde Park in Chicago, Oak Lawn and Hines.

The 15 story building in Streeterville was completed last year and is the largest in the country right now.

It provides a place to sleep, a shower and meals for 75 families.

The majority of operating costs are covered by donations – including those made at local McDonald’s restaurants.

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