As we wrap up the fifth annual Thunder Holiday Assist initiative, presented by Cox Communications, the Thunder offices are abuzz with heartwarming stories from each of the events we’ve hosted during our favorite time of year. If having toy and food drives at games, giving away turkeys and taking grandparents who are raising their grandchildren on shopping sprees weren’t enough to keep our spirits bright year round, this note from our friends at OU Children’s Hospital about our recent visit would surely do the trick:
On Saturday, the Thunder visited The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, bringing smiles and giggles to the faces of children and families who are currently hospitalized. Although special visits are always a treat, a visit by the Thunder over the Christmas holiday was especially meaningful. A true gift of hope and joy this season!
From seeing the truly thrilled and grateful faces of mothers with their toddlers’ new caricature drawings, to watching the Storm Chasers crawl around on the floor engaging with children, helping them to make baskets in their backpack-goals – the Thunder visit brightened the spirits of everyone at the hospital. Having special, positive family memories of events at the hospital can help families look back and smile at a time that is often stressful and difficult.
One sweet little boy had been laying flat for 72 hours. As a next step in his recovery, the goal for Saturday was to get up and out of bed but he did not want to try. When our Child Life Specialist, Laura, visited him in the morning, she noticed the Thunder blanket on his bed and knew exactly how to motivate him to reach his goal. The Thunder’s visit gave him a very exciting reason to get up. He got out of bed and rolled down to the event in a wagon with his mom (and with his Thunder blanket) and meet his heroes. Excitement from a special event like this can truly motivate children to push themselves and meet their recovery goals more quickly!
Another teen boy sheepishly attended the event by himself – a brave move for teens who can often withdraw and turn down social activities while in the hospital. He shyly got autographs and talked to the players – building courage and interacting more and more. It was amazing to see him at the end of the event, squeezing into the photo booth to take pictures with his idols! You could see his face light up with pride and excitement.
Thank you to the Thunder for making time to visit our patients and families! You do not know how important it is to feel joy and excitement, be motivated to leave a unit and to engage and socialize.
These daily “normal” interactions can be interrupted for some families in the hospital. This was a gift our families will treasure for years to come – a meaningful gift of time and love during the holidays!
Peace, Love & Joy to all of your players and staff!! Thank you on behalf of our patients and families! Go Thunder!!
Members of the Child Life Department and Public Relations team
The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center
Be sure to take a look at the video from this special day for more to warm your heart.
- Amy Hill