No matter what sport you play, what level you compete at or where you’re from, bringing a smile to a child’s face is simply unforgettable – especially when that child is in the hospital. Each year, millions of children are hospitalized in the US and in Canada, with studies showing that these children experience higher rates of depression and anxiety than those non-hospitalized. It’s for these reasons that we started our Hospital Heroes program and why it’s one of the most popular ways for athletes to get involved, give back and feel connected to the communities they live and play in. Take a look at some of the highlights from the past few months below!
If you’re an athlete and want to get involved in ongoing visits, please email Denise Kamyuka. Want to support the Hospital Heroes program? Please donate here.
Former Seattle Seahawk and current Cleveland Brown, Ethan Pocic, met with patients and led game games of Bingo via their closed circuit TV channel. Ethan played college football at LSU and return to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s in Baton Rouge to give back to his college town.
PWHPA Toronto Sonnets player, Alexis Woloschuk, joined Children’s Health Foundation patient ambassadors at London Children’s Hospital for their annual field trip. The day was filled with go-karting, rides, and games. Alexis had a Q&A with the ambassadors and signed some autographs.
The New England Patriots 2022 1st round draft pick and former Chattanooga offensive lineman Cole Strange visited with kids at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. He brought so many brights smiles to so many young faces!
While the players we met at the 2022 Senior Bowl are getting ready for the next stage of their careers, some of them took time out of their busy schedules to bring smiles to the faces of kids who need it most.
These visits featured: 🏈 Perrion Winfrey of Oklahoma 🏈 Cameron Thomas of SDSU 🏈 Leon O’Neal of Texas A&M 🏈 Braxton Jones of Southern Utah 🏈 Matt Waletzko of North Dakota 🏈 Sterling Weatherford of Miami University 🏈 Jordan Silver of Arkansas 🏈 Dameon Pierce of Florida 🏈 Tycen Anderson of Toledo 🏈 Chris Paul of Tulsa
“The visit was so much fun! Hands down the highlight of my week!”
Chris Paul, Tulsa Football
It’s always an honor to work with athletes at any point in their athletic journey, but it’s extra special to witness the next generation – days before one of the biggest moments in their lives – make an impact in such a meaningful way.
Unsurprisingly, the feedback we received from our hospital partners was nothing short of amazing.
“I just wanted to send you a quick thank you for helping recruit our amazing guests today. Matt, Jordan, and Sterling were so fun and really great sports. We were all truly impressed with their acting, drawing, and sculpting skills! Please let them know how appreciative we are that they took the time to play a game with us and answer some questions [about playing football].”
Leslie Scott, Child Life Specialist at Children’s Wisconsin
Another thank you to the Senior Bowl for making AFH a part of their offerings to players in February. We like to think it goes a long way!