(ATLANTA) -- Children's Healthcare of Atlanta wanted to bring the magic of the season to their sick children and families, so they created a winter wonderland of snow at all three of its hospitals -- all at the same time.
It was a tightly held secret: Only a handful of employees knew that the surprise event would happen.
At dusk on Dec. 2, it began to snow for an hour outside the hospital rooms where children were getting treated for cancer, waiting for heart transplants and in the intensive care unit.
"What more magical and childlike than snow -- especially in Atlanta?" asked a spokeswoman from Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
It was a balmy 57-degree day, so dozens of these children, many in wheelchairs, hooked up to IVs and wearing surgical masks, ventured out to just feel the white stuff.
Those who were confined to their hospital beds watched it from their windows.
"It all started out as a desire to do something big for our patients," said the spokeswoman. "It's such a special time of year and kids in the hospital don't get to celebrate."
Only a small group knew the skies would start snowing, mostly the security team.
"The facility people were a huge help and got us access to the roof," she said. "We pulled it off with a few volunteer coordinators. The staff, physicians and nurses didn't know about it."
The hospital hired Zigmont Magic F/X, a company that works with Disney on snow shows. (The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.) It assembled more than 31 snow machines holding 31 gallons of snow fluid on the roofs of all three facilities.
The white stuff looked real but felt a bit more like cotton.
Each hospital campus -- in Egleston, Scottish Rite and Hughes Spalding -- had arranged a party so that children and their families would be gathered in a place where they could see the falling snowflakes.
Children enjoyed arts and crafts and music with "Frosty the Snowman" playing as the snow began to fall.
"It really did accumulate on the ground," said the spokeswoman.
"The snow felt more like soap," she said. "Kids were outside dancing in it and playing. They were making snow angels and even had snowball fights."
"But it was more like throwing soap bubbles!" she said. "But it was so special."
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