- The Washington Times - Friday, December 13, 2002

About a dozen youngsters at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children got a special holiday visit yesterday not from Santa Claus, but from a couple of well-known characters, nonetheless.
Without uttering a word, Elmo and the Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street" delighted the young patients in the hospital's play room.
Cancer patient Laura Cottle, 5, was especially pleased.
"She likes them. She knows them," said her mother, Shanna Cottle of Triangle, Va., as Laura tried to draw closer to the shaggy red and blue characters.
"They're fine. They're funny," said asthma patient Jonathan Salazer, 13, of Alexandria. "I see them on TV."
Elmo portrayed by Gabriel Quintero, 19, of San Antonio and the Cookie Monster portrayed by Andrea Colobufo, 19, of Syracuse, N.Y. are members of "Sesame Street Live," the touring, live-action performance of the popular PBS program now playing at the Patriot Center in Fairfax through Sunday.
"We came on behalf of the kids," said Christa Alter, 28, director-manager of "Sesame Street Live." "They always get a great welcome. They are always glad they did it."
Their visit was part of the hospital's Child Life Therapy program, said spokeswoman Janice Moore.
Other visitors during the Christmas season will include actors, actresses and Washington Redskins, she said.
"It was fun," leukemia patient Leah Hill, 8, said of the visit.
Jeff Curran, 5, who was hospitalized Monday with pneumonia, enjoyed the wordless visit of the Sesame Street figures, especially when Elmo came close and tickled his cheek with a shaggy red paw.
His mother, Sue Curran, 36, said Jeff expects to return home to Reston today and help brother Joe, 7, and sister Katie, 3, decorate the family Christmas tree. Jeff hopes Santa Claus will leave the game "Don't Break the Ice" under the tree for him.

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