Edith Marie Velez

A Christmas surprise for one terminally ill child in Newark

Batman and batgirl along with Newark Department of Public Safety escort Santa Claus to visit Edith Marie Velez in Newark to deliver holiday gifts to her and her family. Velez is a 2-year old girl suffering from a rare and terminal illness.

Members of Newark’s police and fire departments led Old Saint Nick to the home with police motorcycles and an Emergency Services Unit truck. Batman and Batgirl helped deliver about 30 gifts to Edithmarie, who has nonketotic hyperglycinemia, a rare metabolic disorder.

“We didn’t expect this,” her dad, Edwardo Velez, said. “We just were supposed to have Santa Claus come over, take a couple pictures at home.”

The idea for the visit was born when Edithmarie’s mom, Shirley Troche, who asked her daughter’s social worker if they could get Santa to visit the house. Edithmarie can’t leave their home often because she’s so susceptible to getting sick, her dad said.

When the Newark Public Safety Department found out about Edithmarie’s illness, the wheels started turning and a plan was set in motion.

In partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Newark first responders also gave presents to Edithmarie’s 3-year old aunt, Leslie Espinosa, who was born with the brain disorder hydrocephalus, and to Leslie’s twin brother, Linger. They got tablets and bicycles, among other presents.

Rutgers EMS and the New York City Police Department were also partners in the event.