NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Christmas arrived early for dozens of sick children, with a special visit from Santa meant to lift their spirits during the holiday season.

Santa Claus greeted around 25 patients from St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital at a at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square on Sunday.

The children suffer from a variety of complex medical conditions, and recieve specialized medical care and rehabilitation for their long-term illnesses.

“It makes me feel happy, excited,” patient Joshua, 16, told CBS2’s Ilana Gold.

Nurses and therapists from the Bayside, Queens hospital also joined in on the fun.

“It’s an incredible opportunity for our kids to get out of the hospital, to get out of the rigors of being cared for and just get into a fun, festive environment and just be a kid. They really deserve it,” Leslie Johnson, of St. Mary’s, said.

The children also had an opportunity to spend time together, becoming friends and sharing support.

“It feels exciting because you get to hang out with all of your friends like people that have other disabilities,” Joshua said.

Hard Rock Cafe donated the space and the food for the event.