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Community: Holiday Cheer

by Katharine Kelley / Carolina Hurricanes
Katharine Kelley

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December is undoubtedly one of those months where I don’t have to try hard to be happy. The events and initiatives that our department hosts only add to the contagiousness of the holidays. I’d like to highlight some of the recently occurring and upcoming events (some related to the holidays and some not), which all ignited my holiday spirit.

Last Thursday, Chad LaRose, Tim Gleason, Cam Ward and Eric Staal stayed a little late after practice to be part of two different PSAs. Eric Staal was joined by his wife, Tanya, and their son, Parker, to shoot the Period of Purple Crying PSA (i.e., a PSA that educates parents about crying babies and “Shaken Baby Syndrome”). The PSA will be part of a statewide campaign to share knowledge to caregivers that infant crying is part of normal development, and that shaking them will not make them stop crying. It was a disturbing, albeit all too real concern to learn about, but Eric, Tanya and Parker are sending a great message that shaking babies can have detrimental developmental effects on babies.

LaRose, Gleason, and Ward had the opportunity to make new friends during their PSA shoot for the SPCA. Each player was paired with a homeless animal during the PSA (Tim Gleason almost walked off with his partner, Jessica Fletcher, an 8-month-old pure-bred golden retriever whose mother was rescued from a puppy mill). The PSA will be used to help raise awareness about animal homelessness, pet adoption and the upcoming K-9-3K dog walk. All three players will soon be highlighted on where people can not only join their walking team but also donate toward a player. All in all, it was a great shoot. The animals (and players) were all extremely well-behaved and definitely sold me on rescuing an animal in the future.

On another note, we’ve got some holiday events in the next few weeks that will hopefully bring holiday cheer to those in need. This Thursday, members of the Hurricanes staff and many of the players’ wives will be visiting local senior centers. We’ll be bringing fresh fruit and personal gift bags to each center. We’ll also spend some time visiting with the seniors, playing bingo and passing out Hurricanes prizes to the winners.

The Hurricanes are also hosting the annual Wives’ Toy Drive (December 14-16). Patrons who bring a new, unwrapped toy to the RBC Center will be awarded a Buy One, Get One Free ticket voucher for the game on December 16. Hurricanes wives will be on hand prior to the game on the 16th to collect toys and pass out vouchers. This year, toys will be distributed to the Helping Hand Mission, Toys for Tots and Wake County Human Services.

I’m almost finished…bear with me. Hurricanes players will once again be participating in our annual Hospital visits on Monday, December 14. Players and coaches will be split up among four local hospitals (Duke Children’s Hospital, REX, WakeMed, and UNC Children’s Hospital) to visit hospitalized children this holiday season. Players will be passing out Stormy dolls and NHL blankets. This is always one of my favorite events, as many of the kids are in need of a reason to smile and be excited. The following day, four players will accompany two children from Durham Nativity School and two children from StepUp Ministry to Target for our Annual Target Shopping holiday event. Players will help the deserving children buy Christmas gifts for their families.

I hope I’ve explained why December is one of my favorite months of the year at my job and in my “normal” life for that matter. I’m fortunate enough to have these fun events surround me at work, and I hope that you can find a way to bring some holiday cheer your way and/or to those in need (humans or animals alike).

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