Raiderette Mallorie, LB Sam Williams, and WR Shaun Bodiford visit with a patient at the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland.Photo by Tony Gonzales.
Recently, WRs Jacoby Ford and Shaun Bodiford, LB Sam Williams, and Raiderettes Annie and Mallorie visited the Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland hoping to bring holiday spirit to the young patients and their families.
Child Life Specialists from the Child Life Department guided the Raiders around the hospital to visit the children. "The Child Life Department provides all the things that kids would be doing if they were not in the hospital like play and art and music. The Child Life Specialists also help prepare children for experiences that they might have in the hospital for any kind of medical procedures and help support them through that," said Mary Kelly, the Child Life Department Manager.
Many patients eagerly awaited their opportunity to meet the Raiders. Williams visited with the children in the Intensive Care Unit. "My favorite part about today was going into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit," said Williams. "I met this little kid named Darius who was absolutely adorable. I want to say he was about two years old and I picked him up and he wouldn't let go. The eyes he had and was looking at me with and his smile were priceless."
Ford visited the children on the 4th floor and shared a special moment with a child who was hearing impaired. "He was hearing impaired so I started signing to him," said Ford. "He's the one that stuck out to me the most and I kind of caught people off guard but I actually knew how to sign so I was excited about that." In college, Ford studied sign language and was thrilled to be able to use the skill at the Children's Hospital.
Raiderette Annie accompanied Ford to the 4th floor and was surprised by his ability to sign. "We walked into a room and we started talking to this boy and he's a little hearing impaired so Jacoby Ford started [signing] to him and it was just the most breathtaking experience to be able to see that," said Annie. "They were both talking to each other and it was really one of the highlights of my season so far."
Bodiford was also moved by his experience at the Children's Hospital. "This is my first time [at this Children's Hospital] and I'm going to come back for that warm feeling you get when you see you've put a smile on their face just because you're a Raider. It's humbling," said Bodiford.
Kelly and her staff were impressed by the impact the Oakland Raiders had on the children. "This was so special. The players and the Raiderettes were just wonderful with the kids," said Kelly. "You could just tell they were really comfortable. When people come in, they realize that these are just kids who just happen to be injured or they have a reason that they need to be in the hospital, so it's really special for us to have all of them come in and show that support from the community."
The Raiders left the hospital inspired by the children and pleased that they were able to provide some joy during the holiday season.