SPECIAL TO THE FLORIDA COURIER
Miami Dolphins players Doug Middleton and Christian Wilkins, cheerleaders and T.D. visited alex’s place at to distribute gifts and brighten the spirits of young cancer fighters and their families on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
“You come here always trying to brighten someone’s day and bring good energy to them. But you always leave with them cheering you up and them bringing you that energy because just knowing what they are going through and how they can still have such a big smile on their face is pretty awesome to see,” Wilkins said.
“What they are going through gives me extra motivation. It puts it all into perspective. What I am doing is nothing compared to what they are going through as far as me going out there on the field every day because they are literally fighting for their lives. I’m playing for them.”
The children and their families had a chance to interact with the team, get autographs and take photos. The children also received gift bags from AutoNation, a supporter of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, in celebration of the automotive retailer’s DRV PNK Initiative.
“I think it’s a really good thing that they are doing that so the patients can feel better not just when they need transfusions but also feel happy when they come here. It makes it make you want to come here,” alex’s place patient Sophia Treadwell said.
‘JOY AND SMILES’
alex’s place Child Life Specialist Leslie Hutchins said, “A visit like this gives their lives a little normalcy. It’s a very welcome distraction to the real reason they’re in clinic today, needle pokes and strong medication, but it also brings joy and smiles getting to meet up close and personal star athletes, professional cheerleaders and the team mascot, something they might otherwise never be able to do. It’s their moment to be special,”
This visit is in advance to the Dolphins’ Crucial Catch game on Oct. 13 against the Washington Redskins presented by Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of UHealth, the University of Miami Health System.
At this game, the team will celebrate and honor on-field cancer fighters and survivors from Sylvester and researchers who have received funds from the annual Dolphins Cancer Challenge with a halftime presentation.
The Dolphins Cancer Challenge was founded in 2010 by the Miami Dolphins organization as the signature initiative of the Foundation’s health impact area. The purpose is to improve people’s lives through financial support for innovative cancer research at Sylvester, South Florida’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center.