Earlier this week, Athletes for Hope brought together a group of Olympic and Paralympic athletes from several sports, including archery, rugby, and track and field for a visit to Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA. Archer Mackenzie Brown, rugby players Ryan Carlyle, Emilie Bydwell, Kimber Rozier, and track and field athletes Blake Leeper, Jere Summers, and Reindell Cole participated in the visit.
“I grew up with a disability and was constantly in and out of the hospital,” Leeper said. “Being around the kids brought back a lot of memories – being at the hospital at a young age, missing school, not being around your friends. Spending time with them today was really important to me. The other athletes really enjoyed it – it brought them back to reality and let them know what is really important in life. When you have kids like that who are going through something so hard, our lives don’t seem so tough.
During the visit the athletes played with patients in Carley’s Garden, located in the hospital’s hematology oncology unit. The athletes played, created, spoke, and hung out with the patients and families while numerous games and art projects were also occurring throughout the visit.
“It was really a lovely afternoon for all!” Rady Children’s Hospital In-Kind Coordinator Belinda Lanois said. “The visit was great and we love working with Athletes for Hope because the visits are so much fun for both the staff and the patients.