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Old 12-22-2011, 08:22 PM   #1
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Deaf Santa a sure “sign” of Christmas in Winnipeg

Global Winnipeg | Deaf Santa a sure

A deaf Winnipeg Santa Claus is helping hearing impaired children enjoy the experience of telling the jolly old elf what they want for Christmas.

David Burke, 58, has been deaf his whole life, but has been dressing up as Santa for the past 13 years. With his 55 year old wife Theresa, who can hear, dressed up as Mrs. Claus he made his annual appearance Wednesday night at the Manitoba School for the Deaf.

The one hundred students gathered in the school gym, ranging from toddlers to adults in their 20’s, can’t hear Santa’s distinctive “ho ho ho” – and Burke can’t say it anyway. But they react as excitedly as any other kids when the man in the red suit makes his appearance.

“I enjoy watching the children come and their excitement and their innocence, they’re still dreaming,” says Theresa.

The children communicate their Christmas wishes to Santa through sign language – with all the eagerness, shyness and occasional squirminess as other kids sitting on any other Santa’s lap. But there’s a quiet, intense poetry of motion as they and Santa let their fingers do the talking.

“I asked for an iPad, I want an iPad2,” one little girl tells a reporter through an interpreter.

Burke also makes sure the kids can believe in the notion of a deaf Santa – telling them he lost his hearing years ago in the racket of his work shop at the North Pole.

“I’ve been helping the elves make the toys and because of the noise and music, I lost my hearing,” he signs, with his wife acting as interpreter.

Parents of deaf children at the event beam as their kids get what is likely their only chance to tell Santa what they want to find under the tree.

“For him to be able to sit with Santa and talk to him and say whatever he wants, it’s beautiful,” says Cheryl Broszeit as her son sits on Santa’s knee.

Read it on Global News: Global Winnipeg | Deaf Santa a sure “sign” of Christmas in Winnipeg
"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light."
- Helen Keller
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