“This was my first time ever doing something like this and it was a lot of fun,” Clay said. “A lot of them were so funny and energetic and just so excited to see us and at the same time that’s what we came here for. I was excited to see them and some couldn’t wait to tear right into that basket. It’s important having something like this hospital here for the kids and having us come in and meet them. It’s a great thing that they’re doing.”
All 32 NFL markets are participating in the Super Baskets of Hope program and when it’s all said and done a total of 7,000 baskets will be delivered to hospitalized patients. The baskets are gender specific, with items designated for boys and girls in order to cover all bases.
Patients at the Miami Children’s Hospital range in age from newborn babies all the way up to 21-year-old young adults. Clay and Garner went from one room where a one-month old baby was sleeping to another with a 19-year-old young man instantly uploading photos of the day onto his Facebook page. That was just another example of how these visits helped the patients forget about their ailments if even for just a few minutes.
“The visit from the Dolphins out here today is obviously tremendous for these kids,” said Harold Robaina, Senior Director of Major Gifts for the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. “These kids are in here in the hospital obviously for a reason and it really brightens their day to see these guys come out and spend some time with them. It just gets them all excited and believe it or not at the end of the day it makes them feel a lot better and helps get them through this stay at the hospital.”
Robaina pointed to a number of technological advances at the hospital, specifically in the oncology wing, as examples of how the Foundation has helped improve the quality of care at the hospital. Inside each room is a HyperGreen hand wash station with a special sensory device built in that indicates whether or not a visitor’s hands are properly clean. If the indicator light turns green after your hands are placed underneath the light then it’s safe to proceed, but if it turns red you have to re-wash your hands.
For Garner, he was just enjoying the reactions of the younger patients upon entering the room. He could see his presence was making an immediate difference and also got a kick out of how popular the baskets were.
“I love going out and seeing kids. Seeing the smiles on kids faces is rewarding enough and it’s awesome just to get out here and try to enlighten their lives,” Garner said. “They’re having to spend all day in the hospital so it’s nice to bring a little joy to them. It makes you realize how lucky we are and that we can go home at night and sleep in our own beds. That’s one thing those kids don’t get to do so it’s nice to lighten up their day.”