(INSIDE EDITION) - Nothing was going to stop 68-year-old Allen Young from playing Santa Claus at the University of Kansas Hospital.
Losing his wife last year didn't stop him. And the possibility of losing his leg this year certainly wouldn't deter him.
In fact, he was able to convince his doctor to not remove the leg at all, despite a massive infection eating away at his knee. His physician replaced the knee instead, allowing Young to walk the halls of the hospital's children's ward
"If nothing else, I can be Santa Claus this year," he told INSIDE EDITION. "I'll worry about my knee next year," he said.
He was told the infection will never go away and he is under a steady dose of antibiotics. Eventually, the leg will have to come off, Young said, but for now, he is walking under his own steam.
His knee had bothered him for a while, he said. But then his wife, Laura, got sick with cancer last year. She went to chemo several times a week. "That was a priority," he told IE. "Taking care of her was more important."
They had been dressing up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for years, and walking the halls at the Kansas hospital, bring Christmas cheer, hearty ho-ho-hos and Laura's annual reading of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.
But Laura died on Dec. 18 last year, leaving him alone with his Santa suit. Seven days later, he put it on and his grown sons drove him to the hospital.
"Regardless of what happened, she wanted me to be Santa Claus," Young said. Not that it was easy.
"The laughter of the kids helped me a little bit," he said.
And that's why he keeps doing it. And why he wouldn't let the surgeons take his leg. At least not right now. Santa Claus most definitely has two legs, to Young's way of thinking.
He's already made his yule appearance at the Kansas hospital. On Christmas Eve, he will appear at a friend's party.
"The kids, and the smiles … that was quite nice," he said of his hospital tour.
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