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Blues Make Annual Visit to Hospitals

by Chris Pinkert / St. Louis Blues
Nicholas Emery (center) gets a visit in the hospital from Darryl Sydor, Brad Winchester, Barret Jackman and T.J. Oshie (Getty Images).

  Video: Visit to Cardinal Glennon
  Photo Gallery: Hospital Visits in 2009
  More: Oshie's Hospital Video/Photos
It was just another day at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital for Nicholas Emery.

Already a patient there for 16 days, Nicholas was prepared for yet another day of tests, poking and prodding.

But then the Blues showed up, and Nicholas forgot all about being in the hospital. In fact, he even admits Monday might have been the best day he’s ever spent in one.

“He had to have surgery. Hopefully (he can go home) by the weekend,” said his mother, Lori Emery, who says a visit by several members of the Blues helped put a big smile on her son’s face.

T.J. Oshie, Barret Jackman, Brad Winchester and Darryl Sydor stopped by Nicholas’ room on Monday afternoon to pose for pictures, sign some autographs and deliver gifts just in time for the holidays.

“I think it’s awesome that they would actually take time out to come see the kids at the hospital,” Lori said. “It’s a real morale booster for (the kids). Nicholas has talked about it all day since he found out they were coming, and the hospital staff actually scheduled his tests around this so he could be here in the room (when the Blues came).”

Children’s hospital visits during the holidays have become an annual tradition for the Blues. Each year, players are split into groups to visit St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Cardinal Glennon and Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital.

“It’s always a great pleasure for us to take some time off during the day and spend it with kids who are having difficulties in their lives,” said Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo, who also visited with children at Cardinal Glennon on Monday. “To put a big smile on their face and interact with them a bit, it sure brings an appreciation to what we do everyday.”

Said Oshie, “They see us coming in and might not know exactly who we are, but they get excited when they see we have some presents.

“It’s great being out here able to see the kids. A lot of them have high spirits and are trying to get better. It’s good to see the fight in them.”

Staff members at Cardinal Glennon expressed their gratitude to the Blues, saying that their appearance during the holidays raises morale for most patients in their hospital.

“They love when people come in and also when they receive the gifts. It truly makes a difference in their hospitalization, and they talk about it for days,” said Kara Short, a Childlife Specialist at Cardinal Glennon. “They always come up and say, ‘guess what I got from the Blues?’ It’s pretty awesome.

“If they’re having a bad day and they see these people come in, they’re so excited and it totally changes their attitude for the day.”

Bringing some holiday cheer, if only for a few minutes, is exactly what Colaiacovo and the rest of his teammates are happy to do.

“As professional athletes, we consider ourselves lucky everyday to do what we’re doing, so we give back to the kids and the community and somehow bring a smile to their face,” Colaiacovo said. “It’s a battle what they go through everyday, and anytime you can bring a smile to a kid’s face, it’s something special.”

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