ARLINGTON, Va. – During the past two years, 10-year-old Ellie Schleyer has been visiting Children’s National Medical Center for an undiagnosed brain disorder.
In between bloodwork and tests on Feb. 15, she discovered several Washington Capitals players and their better halves at the hospital for an afternoon of arts and crafts.
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In the hospital’s atrium Ellie joined several other children along with Nicklas Backstrom and Liza Berg, Jay and Ashley Beagle, Tomas Kundratek and Alannah Dzerdz, Michal Neuvirth and Monika Hybnerova, Donna Oates, wife of head coach Adam Oates, Tom and Jessica Poti and Jeff and Mackenzie Schultz.
“To see the kids get so excited when the guys come is just priceless,” said Mackenzie Schultz. “A lot of kids are here fighting through things that we can’t even imagine at such a young age. Just to put a smile on their face and make one day a little better is so important.”
Ellie’s father, David Schleyer, said the visit had a positive effect on Ellie, who made each player she worked with a piece of art.
“For her, it’s an opportunity to express something other than sadness,” he said. “To see the players giving her time and admiring her artwork says a lot about their character.”
The Capitals have made a tradition of visiting Children’s National Medical Center each season since 1984.
“It’s definitely hard for the children to be in the hospital, so we’re happy to be with them and play games and make them happy,” said Kundratek. “It’s pretty awesome to be here and spend some time with them.”
Located in Washington, D.C., Children’s National Medical Center is the only exclusive provider of pediatric care in the metropolitan Washington area and is the only freestanding children’s hospital between Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Norfolk and Atlanta. Serving the nation’s children for more than 140 years, Children’s National is a proven leader in the development and application of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury.