Friday, August 13, 2010

Patriots day

MGHfC patients bring winning spirit to training camp

WINNING SPIRITS: Maroney signs an autograph for MGHfC patient Nicholas Maimonis as his cousin James Maimonis and another young spectator, Frank Duba, look on. Patriots day MGHfC patients bring winning spirit to training camp

EIGHT THRILLED PEDIATRIC PATIENTS from the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Cancer Center enjoyed a special visit to the 2010 New England Patriots football training camp Aug. 6. Under the Patriots Community Foundation's 30-seat Charitable Tent, the patients and their family members sipped cold drinks while watching the athletes complete a walk-through of the season's plays only a few feet away.

MGHfC patient Nicholas Maimonis, age 13, was one of the young guests who made the trip to Patriot Place with his family. Nicholas was diagnosed with lymphoblastic lymphoma this past spring, and according to his father, Nick, the family has had many rough days. "So with a chance like this, it was an easy decision to come down here and just enjoy a day of pure fun," said the boy's father.

It was an especially memorable day for patient Craig House, who celebrated his 11th birthday with a cake under the tent. After watching the practice from the sidelines, House was thrilled when Patriots running back Laurence Maroney came by to pose for pictures and sign autographs.

While most of the spectators focused on the Patriots players, 18-year-old Dan Hegarty connected with ESPN reporter Adam Schefter. Diagnosed with leukemia more than three years ago, Hegarty finished treatment in May and is headed to Salem State College in the fall. He plans to major in communications, which he hopes to parlay into a career in sports journalism. After the event, Schefter blogged about meeting Hegarty, calling him "the toughest person at Friday's Patriots practice."

Of the day's event, Heather Peach, MS, CCLS, MGHfC child life specialist said, "Although the players on the field towered over the children in the MGHfC tent, both the athletes and patients clearly had several things in common – great strength, a fighting spirit and the determination to win."

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