VIP’s and Celebrities Give Back
Shhh….did you hear who’s visiting the kids at Nationwide Children’s? It’s not often publicized (at the athletes or celebrities request) but we frequently have famous visitors to the hospital ranging from local sports heroes to astronauts to Nashville stars. They don’t visit for the publicity – they find time in their jam-packed schedule to just give back – to brighten a child’s day. I’ve had a chance to be on a few of these visits and it’s magical to see the kids’ (and their families) reactions when they have a surprise celebrity visitor.
Last week, Karen Kasich, First Lady of Ohio joined Miss. Ohio 2011, Ellen Bryan, for a visit to Nationwide Children’s. The two rode bikes to the hospital from Westerville on the last leg of Miss Ohio’s Bike Tour (and they looked amazing following a 20+-mile ride!) The 850 mile bike tour raised funds for Ohio Children’s hospitals that are part of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The First Lady joined in to show her support and cheer on Miss Ohio. Upon arrival at the hospital both women took time to visit with patients on our rehabilitation floor. Many of these children spend months with us recovering from severe accidents and injuries. It is one of the most amazing and hopeful areas here at Nationwide Children’s. The patients were ready for their VIP visitors and had even prepared custom-bedazzled sashes for their guests.
Just yesterday, Mrs. Kasich’s again quietly returned to campus, this time with the Governor and their twin daughters Emma and Reese. They came to serve dinner to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. These acts of kindness and generosity happen frequently here at Children’s and we are so appreciative.
Talking celebrities – I also have to throw a big shout-out to OSU Basketball Coach Thad Matta. We all know this is one busy guy but right now he’s helping Kroger raise money for the hospital in all their Central Ohio Stores through the “Kids Come First” program. But the Coach has given so much more than his name to this effort. When we did the photo shoot for the campaign there were several patients involved and Coach Matta took time to talk individually with each child, to hear their stories and to take photos and sign autographs. You could tell he made a personal connection with each boy and girl– one they’ll remember long after their hospital experience. It was great to meet the Coach – yes, I am a big fan! You can support Coach Matta and the Kids Come First program anytime you visit a local Kroger store now through October 5th. 90,000 paper basketballs have already been sold at area Kroger stores and we’re hoping to break 100,000 by the end of the campaign.