Smiles can be in short supply for children battling illness, but for one afternoon the cafeteria at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Phoenix was packed with wall-to-wall grins.
This joy came courtesy of a caravan of Coyotes’ front-office employees who volunteered their time to host Phoenix Coyotes Fun Day, complete with cookie decorating, arts and crafts activities, floor hockey and photos taken with the top dog of NHL mascots – Howler!
Many parents and a few siblings also joined in the fun and shared their stories of appreciation with the Coyotes staff. For some parents, it was the first time in weeks they had seen a smile on their child’s face.
“It was such a great event that the Coyotes put on for our patients and families,” Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Life Specialist Wendy Pauker said. “The kids really loved the carnival and it gave them a temporary escape from being in the hospital and allowed for a positive outlet. We truly appreciate the Coyotes for all they do for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.”
While fun was the primary focus of the event, the afternoon also featured an important message of water safety. August is Drowning Impact Awareness Month and the Coyotes assisted Phoenix Children’s Hospital in bringing attention to this cause by wearing purple awareness ribbons and sharing specially designed Coyotes water safety coloring pages with all in attendance.
"Having the support of the Coyotes means so much and having a personal visit, with all kinds of fun activities for our patients, brought a bright spot to their day and smiles to their faces,” Phoenix Children’s Hospital Water Safety Coordinator Tiffaney Isaacson said. “When we see the staff of the Phoenix Coyotes wearing purple ribbons and supporting our efforts to prevent drownings, we are so grateful they are an active part of the effort to make the lives of children in our community better."
But the gratitude went both ways as the smiles worn by the Coyotes volunteers may have been as large as any in the room. After all, it’s said that givers are the true receivers.
“Coming here means so much to our employees because we know how important it is to the kids and their families,” Coyotes Director of Community Relations and Fan Development Sarah Finecey said. “These special kids are going through tough times at such a young age. Even though the afternoon went by quickly, we’re hopeful that the memories from today will make miles of smiles down the road.”