Patients at the University of Virginia Children's Hospital got a special visit from some athletes Monday. Members of the UVA women's basketball team stopped by to deliver some smiles.
The hospital education program organized Monday's event as part of the children's curriculum. Teachers say guests like UVA athletes help distract the children from their illnesses.
Guard Lexie Gerson, guard Jaryn Garner, and forward Sarah Beth Barnette traveled around the hospital to hang out with a handful of patients. The group took on a different kind of game - playing bingo made up of hospital lingo with kids in the classroom. They also visited individual rooms to offer parents and patients support in a time of need.
“We play basketball and that's not a big thing, but to everyone else it is, so just to have the opportunity for people to look up to us automatically and to share that is really awesome. I think that we need to do that,” said Gerson.
The hospital education program operates through Charlottesville City Schools. The teachers say offering a classroom structure at the hospital helps patients normalize their day.
A different set of university athletes swings by to volunteer time at the hospital every week.
“We've built a good relationship with our UVA athletes, and they continue to come week after week,” said Wendy Haworth, teacher at the Children’s Hospital.
Organizers say they act as great role models for the kids.
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