CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 20 Chicago Bears players played Santa Claus on Tuesday and handed out – what else? — stuffed teddy bears to children and their families at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
“This means so much to the children, to their families and to our staff,” oncologist Stewart Goldman told the athletes. “You are great motivators to us to work harder to find better answers to get better treatments.”
“You guys are a big part of that therapy,” Goldman added. “The joy you’re going to bring today means so much to the kids.”
Francisco Parodi’s 7-year old-son, Matias, is a patient there.
“It’s very exciting,” Francisco said. “These guys are Chicago idols, and he’s a big teddy bear fan.”
Matias is being treated for a blood immune disorder.
“The bear is furry and fluffy and it has a gold sticker on it and a shirt, but I’m a Cubs fan,” he said.
Punter Pat O’Donnell said he and his teammates love to visit with kids, and this particular visit is special.
“It’s a big battle for them every single day,” O’Donnell said. “For me, to see my father go through it, it’s a big thing for me to impact and to give a little time to these kids to make their day.”
“It’s awesome to get out her with all the guys. It hits home for us for our trainer, Will. His daughter is going through leukemia, so we’re doing it for him, too.”
Players went room to room on the 18th floor and visited with patients who are being treated for cancer and blood disorders.