Flying to the North Pole: Kids battling life-threatening illnesses take flight to see Santa

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Dozens of sick children got the chance to leave the hospital behind for a special trip to meet Santa at his home.

Full of joy and anticipation, the lucky children and their families packed a room waiting for a one of a kind flight.

"It's wonderful, it's the best part of my year," said Debbie Gomez, elf.

Elves prepared the kids before take-off -- It's the 128th Air Refueling Wing's most favorite mission yet.

"Take them out of the hospital setting and let them enjoy some holiday cheer," said John Capra, with the 128th Air Refueling Wing.

Volunteers from 128th along with Silverliners International, wanted to uplift kids with life-threatening illness from Children's Hospital. The children and their families hopped on board the Santa liner and a specially decorated aircraft.

Ready with their wish list, the smiling faces were able to focus on their happiness as opposed to the daily trials they face.

The delight continued as they entered the North Pole. The ill children and their siblings chomped on treats and scooped up goody bags.

But of course the trip wouldn't be complete without meeting Santa himself! Kids were showered with presents, but the real gift was something not tangible.

"Just a way to help ease the hearts of those going through this with family. Certainly for the big kids to give them a break and something to look forward to," said Cevin Moses.

The 128th Air Refueling Wing has been doing this event for nearly 30 years. This year, 21 families participated.