T Matt McCants, S Shelton Johnson and TE Nick Kasa with one of the patients at Highland Hospital. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Recently, the Oakland Raiders spent time at Highland Hospital in Oakland, visiting with patients, their families, and staff. WR Rod Streater, FB Jamize Olawale, T Matt McCants, TE Nick Kasa, and safeties Brandian Ross and Shelton Johnson visited different wings of the hospital, hoping to bring joy during the holiday season.
Highland Hospital is the primary trauma center and county hospital serving Alameda County. "It's an organization that provides most of the trauma care for this community," explained Wright Lassiter III, Chief Executive Officer for Alameda Health System. "It's also a hospital that ensures every person in this community has high quality health care, whether they have insurance or not."
The players took the time on their day off to meet patients in the maternity ward, pediatrics and the medical surgical unit. "Biggest thing I tried to do today is just try to make people feel better," said McCants. "With their situation being in the hospital around the holidays, it's kind of a down feeling, so I just tried to go in there and just brighten their day up and give them some Raiders spirit."
McCants and his teammates were successful in bringing a positive energy to Highland. "During the holiday time, everyone's looking for a boost," said Lassiter. "Patients who are here in the hospital generally are not spending the time the way they'd like so when you see a professional football team come out and say to the community, 'We care about you'…you say to patients, some of whom have tough situations in their lives, 'We really care about you; we want to spend time with you,' it means quite a bit. Our patients were happy. Our staff was happy and I really appreciate the Raiders and their commitment to serving the community in a really positive way."
S Brandian Ross, WR Rod Streater and FB Jamize Olawale pose for a photo with a patient. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Jerri Applegate Randrup, director of corporate communications and marketing, expressed her gratitude to the players. "Rod, Shelton, Brandian, Matt, Jamize, and Nick – your good humor and positive energy had a lasting effect on each patient you visited, and your example of hard work and determination against all odds is something staff and patients alike know well and appreciate," Randrup said.
Randrup was impressed with the impact the players had on the Highland Hospital community. "The Oakland Raiders' holiday visit to Highland was a special opportunity for Alameda Health System to both lift patients' spirits and positively engage with the community beyond our walls," said Randrup. "We're thankful during this holiday season that [they] shared [their] time with those in need."
Ross wanted to give back to the local community, especially around the holidays. "This is the time of the year where it's a time of family, giving, sharing and caring, and things of that nature I just wanted to give my time back and try to brighten someone's day," said Ross.
Streater, who has participated in hospital visits in the past, knows what it means to those in the hospital to have an outside guest come and show they care. "It's always good to give back to the kids and anybody that's in the hospital and just come in and give them a smile," said Streater. "You can change their whole day."
The players were able to lift the spirits of the patients from new moms to surgery patients to young kids. "I could tell [we had a positive impact] just because people had smiles on their faces, they were talking upbeat," said McCants. "Even if at first they were sounding down, by the end, they were feeling better and talking. I felt like we did a good job."
As much of an impact as the players had on those they visited, it was significant to the Raiders as well. "It really means a lot. It's the holidays," said McCants. "People don't get a chance to see their families, they're in the hospital, they're sick. Being a Raider, I feel obligated to come and support our fans that can't get to our games or can't leave their hospital beds. So trying to make these guys feel better…I feel like that's important and it's a big deal."
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