Smiles Abound at Riley Hospital for Children When Indians Players Visit
June 16, 2016 – The sharp CLACK of the air hockey puck resonated through the Child Life Zone at Riley Hospital for Children in downtown Indianapolis, followed by a triumphant yell of victory from Aidan Miller. For a few minutes he was able to forget he was a patient as he scored yet another goal on Indianapolis Indians mascot Rowdie. In another area of the hospital’s state-of-the-art play area, several Indians players laughed and joked as they interacted with kids at a video game station. Another win for the Riley kids in a game of NBA2K.
Indians first baseman Josh Bell, and pitchers Tyler Glasnow, Frank Duncan, and John Kuchno joined Rowdie, and even Manager Dean Treanor to unveil a very special jersey that will be worn by coaches and players on June 25. The theme that night at Victory Field will be Super Hero Night featuring The Hulk.
Riley Hospital for Children was the location for today’s fun because of the fundraising component that will benefit Riley Children’s Foundation. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets to this Saturday night game by visiting RileyKids.org/SuperHeroNight. At checkout, enter the promotion code RILEY and $5 from each ticket will be donated to the foundation.
In addition, on these specialty jersey nights, Indians fans know an in-game auction is included where fans can register using their mobile phone and bid on the actual game-worn jerseys during play through the seventh inning. Proceeds from the June 25 auction will also be donated to Riley Children’s Foundation.
The Indians have already hosted three jersey auctions this season and raised more than $23,000 for Central Indiana non-profits. More specific details about Indians 2016 jersey auctions can be found in another Tribe Talk blog post.
As Treanor observed his players interacting with the kids he commented proudly, “I encourage all of our players and kind of push them to (visit a children’s hospital) at least once during the season. Just watching them interacting with the kids, it’s pretty special. The guys and their Hulk jerseys are dressed as super heroes but these kids here at Riley, they’re the real heroes of the day.”
Throughout the afternoon, it was impossible to find a Riley kid not grinning ear to ear, whether they were shooting pool with Kuchno, decorating super hero capes with Duncan, or playing foosball with all of the players.
“For me, baseball is a kid’s game,” said Duncan, “so when we get to come and meet with kids, I think it gives us kind of an insight to get back to our roots even though we are professional athletes. Seeing what these kids are going through every day and seeing their fight puts a lot of stuff into perspective.”
Though the children were the main beneficiaries of the day, parents received a much needed break from the world of machines and doctors focused on saving the lives of their children.
“Today we get to go home and this is an amazing way to end a really rough and painful week,” said Julie Miller, mother of Aidan. “He found out about (the Indians party) yesterday so he didn’t want to go home until we at least stayed through today,” said Brian, Aidan’s dad.
“You see that they are not thinking about the stress of the hospitalization and of the medical world,” said Riley Hospital for Children Child Life Specialist Kathleen Odinga. “When they walk in and they see giveaways, and they see eager volunteers that want to interact with them and do crafts, you just see smiles and you see normal pieces of childhood.”
Just what the doctor ordered – for kids and athletes.