Recently, Raiderettes Annie, Bess, Chanel, Diana, Kathleen, Lytisha, Mallorie, Sarah Marie, and Tori, visited Shriners Hospitals for Children® — Northern California in Sacramento, Calif. Football's Fabulous Females performed for the patients and their families, visited the ICU, posed for photos, and spent time in the activities room with the kids. The nine Raiderettes brought positive energy and smiles to the hospital.
According to Catherine Curran, Director, Public Relations at Shriners Hospitals for Children, "Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California provides expert care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip & palate and scars from any cause. It is one of 22 medical centers in the Shriners system, and it is the only Shriners Hospital that provides care in all disciplines and houses a scientific research program. The Northern California Shriners Hospitals for Children opened in Sacramento in April 1997 and since then more than 45,000 children have benefited from the hospital's life-saving, life-changing care."
The Raiderettes wanted to spend time with the patients and bring some holiday spirit. "We're here at Shriners Hospital in Sacramento bringing the kids some good feelings and visiting all of them, taking pictures, and dancing with them," said Raiderette Bess. "It's been a lot of fun and it's really making us feel great seeing their eyes light up and seeing them having fun. They are so full of energy and so full of life. It's so awesome to be here."
*Football's Fabulous Females *started out their visit by performing two routines in the activities center where the patients normally go to play and get away from the monotony of their hospital rooms. "It's kind of a safe area for the patients," said Activities Coordinator Kristin Barna about the activities center. "They don't have to worry about doing therapy while they're here or having a nursing procedure. And it's also a spot where they get to choose what they do because when you're in the hospital, you don't control why you're here or what happens to you so when they come to our area, they get to choose the things they like to do and participate in. So that's really important."
A large group of kids and their parents came to the activities center to watch and meet the Raiderettes. "This is probably one of the largest groups I have seen down here in quite some time," said Christine Johnson, another Activities Coordinator at Shriners. "I think there's a few kids today that I saw smile for the first time since they've been here, which is really rewarding, especially some of these kids whose injuries are pretty recent and seeing them really open up and light up has been awesome."
Following their performance, the Raiderettes posed for photos before splitting into two groups. One group stayed downstairs to play games and dance with the patients, while the other group went upstairs to the ICU to meet patients who were unable to leave their rooms. "There were a lot of really, really amazing kids we got to meet," said Raiderette Mallorie. "We spent a lot of one-on-one time with them and then a few of us went up to the ICU to meet some kids that weren't able to come down. We met the biggest Raiders fan ever. He had a Raiders Snuggie, a Raiders pillow pet, every kind of Raiders hat, everything. It was adorable. On his wall, it was just his birthday, so he had lots of fun stuff in there. And even though he wasn't able to talk to us, he was smiling the whole time. Parents were really excited to see us here. We're so happy to be here."
Having the Raiderettes at Shriners was not only fun for everyone involved, but also important for the patients. "It means a whole lot for the kids to have something different in their day to feel like they're still connected to the community, that they're not just isolated in the hospital," said Barna. "We just have some huge Raiders fans, one kid upstairs particularly. So for him, during his healing process, to have such a positive thing and a big experience in his hospitalization, it's just something he'll always look back on and hopefully it'll bring a positive light to his hospitalization."
The Raiderettes were happy that they were able to make an impact on some of the patients and their families. "It's a wonderful feeling because a lot of the kids don't get to get out and for us to bring some new surroundings for them is a joy," said Raiderette Tori. "To see how happy they are – we had one little one following us everywhere. It's fun to be here with them. It was a great day."