BostonBruins.com -- [Photo Gallery] Whenever Andrew Ference visits the Spaulding Rehabilitation hospital, smiles flash around the pediatric unit, and the challenges that the patients face on a daily basis get a little bit easier.
Maureen Banks, the President of Spaulding Hospital and the Chief Operating Officer of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital said that Ference’s frequent visits bring an incredible joy to the parents and patients at the hospital.
Hospital Visits Help
It was supposed to be the best day for avid Bruins fan Mike Murphy, and his son Mikey.
On June 18, Murphy and his son were getting ready to attend the Bruins Stanley Cup parade when the day quickly turned into the worst.
Mikey suffered cardiac arrest, and the Murphys' lives changed forever.
"He was going to meet his friends to take the train in and by the time his friends had arrived to meet him at the football field, Mikey had already collapsed and he lost a lot of oxygen," his father Mike said. "They tried doing CPR and he was rushed to the hospital We ended up going to the Children's Hospital from there and its been a long road since."
Mikey, who is 15, has been rehabilitating at Spaulding Hospital, and he is able to move his arms and legs, and he tries to talk by moving his mouth, according to his father.
But one of the things that helps Mikey and his family get through the tough challenges they face every day are the visits by Bruins defenseman Andrew Ferrence and other Boston players.
"It brings up the whole day," Mike said. "I know he knows [they are there] because when I go in and talk to him he'll make certain noises to let me know.
"And it's good therapy for me. I'm here with him 24 hours a day – it's been a long road, six months now, but he's [showing] improvement."
Gallery: Seguin Visits the Murphys
Gallery: On Thursday, Dec. 22, Tyler Seguin visited the home of the Murphy family (photos: Phil Pesce).
“I’m just thrilled to have this relationship with the Bruins foundation,” Banks said. “In particular, Andrew Ference has been an incredible friend to Spaulding and the Spaulding pediatric unit.”
For the B’s defenseman, visiting the hospital is something he’s been doing since he arrived in Boston in 2006 and he said he enjoys nothing more than putting a smile on the children’s faces.
“They say any smile, or any little change in the schedule where they can have some fun is a big thing,” Ference said.
“The challenges that most of the patients face are huge. So every little ray of light, no matter how small it is, it helps. It’s a great feeling, but you feel pretty insignificant compared to the challenges that are going on here.”
Ference said that there is no shortage of good hospitals in the Boston area, but he is impressed by the work Spaulding does, especially with the adaptive sports program, and it keeps him coming back to the hospital on a regular basis.
“No matter the challenge the patients are facing, they find a way to get them involved by bicycling, or getting them out on the water for some water sports,” Ference said. “Sports are really powerful – it offers a challenge and camaraderie with the other patients. There is such a sense of pride when they accomplish a new thing, and it just blows me away.”
Today, Ference was joined by teammates Jordan Caron and Zach Hamill, and Hamill said that visiting the children is fun, and it puts a smile on his face too.
“I’m glad to see the kids having fun. Anything I can do to help them makes me happy and I’m glad they’re happy as well,” Hamill said. “You want to grow up and live your dream, and that’s what we’re doing. [We do] anything we can do to give back to these kids and make them happy and make everything better for them.”
Ference also said that the more he visits Spaulding, he is impressed by the amount of people that come up to him and tell him how much Spaulding has helped them personally, or someone in their family.
But for Banks and the staff at Spaulding, it’s the work of Ference and the Bruins that helps the patients the most.
“It’s very important – it gives that sense of hope and being part of the community and having a normal relationship,” Banks said. “If the Bruins weren’t here doing this, it would be greatly missed.”