Yesterday afternoon, Briann January and members of the Indiana Fever, Indiana Pacers players and coaches, Pacemates and even mascots visited local children’s hospitals, specifically Riley Children’s Hospital in Carmel and downtown Indianapolis and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital at St. Vincent, to bring some fun and smiles to the patients there.
The members of the organization brought with them pizza, goodie bags and a spirited attitude, ready to have fun with the children they met. Autographs were signed, games were played, and lasting impressions were made.
“This is great that we get to come out and do this,” said Pacers rookie forward Georges Niang, who visited Peyton Manning’s Children Hospital. “It’s extremely meaningful to me. They’re going through a lot being in a hospital. Coming through and trying to put a smile on their face is the least we can do.”
“I felt like today I saw a lot of smiles on kid’s faces,” Pacers point guard Joe Young added. “As pro athletes we want to make kids happy. They [the fans] support us, so I feel like we have to support them.”
The doctors and nurses that take care of the children every day were just as appreciative of the time the organization gave to their patients.
“The kids love having all these idols that they have and people they respect come by,” Dr. Don Miller of Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital said. “It’s just an amazing experience for them. It just cheers them up during a fairly difficult time for them. It’s not just the kids, it’s the family, the nurses. It brings everybody’s spirits up.”
Mario Burnett, father to four-year-old Avery Burnett agreed. Avery is recovering from surgery after hemoglobin was found under his tongue, and his father couldn’t have been happier to see members of Pacers Sports & Entertainment walk through the door.
“To have them come out and show support to the kids here is amazing,” Burnett said, while smiling from ear to ear. “I can’t even say how much this means. I think that it helps with the process of healing. It gives them something to look forward to. The kids were really excited that they were coming. You can see their faces light up despite them being in the hospital.”
And according to Fever point guard Briann January, the kids weren’t the only ones who had fun.
“I think everybody had a blast here today, and I’m glad we were able to come and put some smiles on these kid’s faces, because they definitely put a smile on mine.”
Interested in Fever tickets? Join us for Select-A-Seat and you can test drive the best available seat location for 2017. You can also meet new head coach Pokey Chatman and All-Star guard Briann January.