Blues forward Jamie Langenbrunner
knows a thing or two about spending time in children’s hospitals.
His second child, Landon, required heart surgery shortly after birth 11 years ago.
“Having been through it a little bit with the uncertainty and the hours in the hospital, it gets a little long,” Langenbrunner said Monday after visiting kids at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis. “You understand what they’re going through and it’s good to hopefully brighten up their day and give them something to smile about just for a little while.”
Today, Landon is a perfectly healthy 11-year-old boy, and Jamie certainly counts his blessings for that.
On Monday, Langenbrunner and the rest of his teammates spent time at area children’s hospitals to spread some holiday cheer. In addition to talking with patients, players brought coloring books, crayons and autograph cards as gifts, leaving lasting memories in a place that most children would like to forget.
“The biggest thing is coming here to give them a couple gifts and autographs, put a smile on their face and bring their spirit up a little bit,” said David Perron
. “That’s what we were trying to accomplish today. Anything we can do to get in there and give them a few gifts, we’ll do it.”
Players were split into groups and visited children at Cardinal Glennon, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Ranken Jordan Pediatric Specialty Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children and St. John’s Mercy Medical Center.
Less than an hour into their visits, they had seen cancer patients, recently-out-of-surgery patients and even some in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Tory Ellison has spent the better part of two days at Cardinal Glennon with asthma problems. He expects to get out on Tuesday, but was excited to see Blues players nonetheless and can’t wait to get back to school to tell his friends that he met Perron and Langenbrunner.
“It’s very uplifting. It made my son very excited,” said his mother, Rhoshunda Spinks. “Just to see his face light up, to see that somebody else is thinking about him is nice.
“It’s real good for the kids. To see someone they see on TV, it’s a big thing for them.”
While Blues players are certainly there to help the kids, players themselves usually take something away from their visits as well.
“A lot of kids in here when you walk into the room, especially with Louie next to you, they really light up. If they’re having a bad day, it’s an opportunity to smile. For us to be able to do that, it puts a lot of warmth in our heart,” said David Backes
. “It puts things in perspective. When you have a bad day where maybe you didn’t do so hot on the ice or at work, you think things are going bad, you come here and see some of the circumstances these kids are battling through…your life is not that tough.
“To see some of the attitudes that these kids have being in these positions, it really makes you say I could be a lot more positive and appreciate what I have a lot more.”