The Oakland Raiders visited UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland Tuesday afternoon. DE Justin Tuck, DE LaMarr Woodley and CB Taiwan Jones spent time with the young patients, putting smiles on their faces as they played games and participated in arts and crafts.
|DE LaMarr Woodley gets a high five from a young patient. Photo by Tony Gonzales|
The three veteran players arrived at the hospital with the goal of having a positive impact on the kids, and while they were successful, they also realized that the patients had an even more profound effect on them.
"A lot of times in a situation like this I think we think we're doing them a lot of good, when actually, I think they're doing more good to us," said Tuck. "Our hearts are warmed by just how they interact with us."
Woodley was moved by the kids' ability to smile through their struggles. "They put a smile on my face because you see some of the things that they're going through and they still enjoy life," said Woodley. "It really makes you have an appreciation for your life because some days you may be down and out but someone is doing worse than you and they find a way to overcome it."
All three players were appreciative of the energy and positivity exhibited by the kids they visited. "It's amazing," said Jones. "The kids, they don't deserve what's going on, and to see them smile and not think about it for a few hours and just to enjoy each other's company and share embarrassing stories, it's always a blessing and it's always fun."
Jones has spent time at the Children's Hospital in Oakland before. "I think this is my third visit and each time is just a blessing for me," he said. "It's always humbling for me. It's always good to come back and talk to some of the kids here and just share smiles and enjoy each other's presence."
DEs Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley and CB Taiwan Jones visited UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.
ones was particularly moved by one child Tuesday, when he presented the cornerback with a gift. "This necklace was given to me from one of the patients here and I couldn't even explain how it made me melt," said Jones as he showed it to Raiders.com. "I feel like I need to do more for him. He just gave this to me just because I came to visit and spoke to him and it just shows you the kind of heart that these kids have. It makes me want to do more and come back more."
There was a mutual appreciation between the football players and the kids. "To see some of the struggles they're going through and still have that positive attitude, that winning attitude that you need to have to overcome some of the things that they might be facing, it definitely put a smile on my face today and I know I helped put a smile on their face," said Woodley.
The Raiders wanted to spend time at the children's hospital to bring extra happiness to the kids and their families, particularly around the holiday season.
CB Taiwan Jones receives a necklace from this young patient and gives him a big hug as a thank you. Photo by Tony Gonzales
"I'm blessed. Any time I see kids like this I always think about my two sons and how blessed I am with that. You always want to keep it in perspective knowing that these kids didn't do anything wrong," explained Tuck. "They don't deserve this at all, but somehow they found the strength within themselves to just be happy and be joyous. To bring smiles to these kids faces, regardless of what time of year it is, but especially this time of year, I think is tremendous."
Tuck, Woodley and Jones left the hospital smiling. "I always enjoy it and I always look forward to the next visit," said Jones.