Football fans: From left, pediatric patient Samuel Norris and his mother Amy join Timmy Jacques and pet therapy dog Duffy as Gostkowski visits MGHfC patients.
Despite recent changes in the New England Patriots lineup, MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) patients remain faithful fans. On Sept. 28, several of them excitedly welcomed Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski when he paid a visit to the hospital. Gostkowski's visit was part of the MGH Cancer Center's initiative with the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation's "Kick Cancer" campaign, which aims to raise cancer awareness throughout the 2010-2011 season.
Gostkowski arrived on Ellison 18 armed with children's books and Patriots programs to autograph. His first stop was the children's playroom, where a beaming 8-year-old MGHfC patient Timmy Jacques was waiting. "This is great," said Timmy, whose mother Jennifer sat close by smiling. Pet therapy dog Duffy also enjoyed meeting the football star.
"To help put a smile on a sick kid's face and give them motivation is rewarding," Gostkowski said. "I think it's important to use our status as pro athletes in a positive way. All too often we hear negative news of athletes behaving badly."
Assisted by child life specialists Anne Pizzano, CCLS, and Sasha Field, MS, CCLS, Gostkowski visited approximately 12 children at MGHfC from ages 6 to 17.
As part of the agreement with the Patriots Charitable Foundation, the MGH already has started taking part in educational and awareness projects on designated game days at Gillette Stadium and in the community. BWH and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute also are partnering on this important initiative. For more information on Kick Cancer, visit www.patriots.com/community.