During a recent visit to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., 10-year-old Ruby Doyle emerged from an appointment and was greeted by special guests from the Washington Capitals in the hospital’s atrium.
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There she was among several children who discovered Red Rockers – members of the Capitals spirit squad – and mascot Slapshot joining patients for an afternoon of fall-themed arts and crafts.
Ruby, who is undergoing treatment for a cleft palate at the hospital, was able to dance with the squad on stage, obtain one-on-one instruction on cheer basics from a Red Rocker and construct a fall craft scene with another squad member -- activities the Doyle family welcomed following a lengthy drive and medical care.
“To have an activity like this is tremendous,” said Ruby’s mother Penni, who makes a nearly 80-mile trip from Chestertown, Md., to Washington, D.C., with Ruby every four to six weeks for care at Children’s National.
According to Dana Morgan, performance coordinator with the hospital’s Creative and Therapeutic Arts Services division, the visit from the Washington Capitals helped patients take their mind off of medical treatment.
“Today’s activities are important because they help our patients get beyond what’s happening at the hospital and participate in arts and crafts,” said Morgan. “It helps make the hospital experience a little bit easier for our patients, families and staff.”
Participating in the Nov. 6 visit and working with the children on festive art projects also was special to squad members.
“It was a lot of fun getting the chance to play with the kids and getting to know them on a personal level,” said Red Rocker Michelle Dee.
The 303-bed medical center, whose team of pediatric healthcare professionals care for more than 270,000 children each year, is the only exclusive provider of pediatric care in the metropolitan Washington area and the only freestanding children’s hospital between Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Norfolk and Atlanta. The Washington Capitals have participated in annual visits to Children’s National Medical Center for nearly 30 years.