Hoosiers Lift Spirits at Riley Hospital
April 22, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS - Seventy Hoosier players along with head coach Bill Lynch and his wife, Linda, assistant coaches and staff visited Riley Hospital for Children on Tuesday evening. The team made the one-hour bus ride north to Indianapolis for an experience they won't soon forget.
"It was kind of eye-opening," senior linebacker Will Patterson said. "Coming from the way that we live and getting to see the kids in there like that, it was breathtaking just to see how strong they are with everything they are dealing with. The little things that we go through, it really makes you put life into perspective."
After a brief orientation, the team was divided into 10 groups sent to different wings in the hospital. Each patient in the hospital received a visit from at least one group. Players visited with the children and their families, signed posters and passed out gift bags during the one-hour, fifteen-minute stay.
"Coming here today and seeing the kids was a great experience for the team and the kids," senior defensive end Jammie Kirlew said. "You could just tell by the smiles on their faces and the looks in their eyes that they had a great time. I think we felt really good taking time to visit with the kids, bringing them gifts and talking some football. It just took their minds off of what they are going through." Riley Special Events Coordinator, Melissa Sexton, said it was the first time in her nearly nine-year tenure at the hospital that an entire team visited Riley at one time. The Department of Athletics, IU Foundation, IU Office of Admissions and the IU Alumni Association contributed gifts for the patients.
"It was a one-of-a-kind experience," junior quarterback Ben Chappell said. "I thought it was great for the kids and great for the team. I had an absolute blast and look forward to doing this again."
Bill Lynch and the players also visited the family of two Greene county boys who suffered serious burns over most of their bodies this weekend. All the players on the trip signed posters for the 10-and 11-year olds, who are in critical condition. Lynch told the family he would like to invite the boys to a practice or game as his guests if at all possible in the fall.
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