On a hot and bright, sunny summer day, there's no better way to celebrate the season than a day at the beach.
For kids battling illness at the Stollery Children's Hospital, the 'beach' has become a special sanctuary on the building's fourth floor. It's here where patients can unwind and play games, interact with others and embrace childhood through smiles and good times.
As part of Dairy Queen's Miracle Treat Day, Oilers alumni Al Hamilton, Bryon Baltimore and Gregg Pilling helped serve Blizzard Treats to deserving children at the Stollery. All three signed autographs, posed for photos and shared stories of past memories for over an hour, while getting to know everyone in the process.
The experience, 16-year-old Justin said, was "very cool."
"It means quite a bit to us," he continued. "The fact that they take some out of their busy schedules and come visit us, it makes us quite happy as kids.
"I got some autographs and we had some Blizzards together. It's been pretty fun."
While immersed in games, mingling and mountainous portions of delicious ice cream, Justin was also eager to learn more about what the NHL was like before he was born.
"I know back when they played they didn't have that much padding back then, so I'm wondering if it would hurt more than it does today."
Alumnus Al Hamilton has been deeply rooted in community programs for quite some time, but still leaps at the opportunity to represent his club and bring smiles (and, in this case, ice cream) to those in need.
"They've obviously all gone through a great deal," Hamilton said. "It's very important to be part of the community. We're so blessed that we got to play the game and have some fun with it, and now that we're given an opportunity to come and visit and do a few things, I always enjoy it. I always leave here counting my own blessings.
"Most of them weren't even a gleam in anybody's eye when I played," he laughed. "But they're all hockey fans and they're all appreciative of the fact that we're here, so it's pretty neat."
Coordinator of Community and Consumer Partnerships Dallas Fidierchuk agreed, adding that the Oilers alumni will continue to play an integral role in the community and have an even more prominent duty as Oil Country ambassadors moving forward.
"Having the Oilers alumni out in the community is very important, and having them out at as many events as we can is important for the Edmonton Oilers organization," he said.
"The kids are all very excited. A place like the beach inside the hospital brightens their day, gets them out of their rooms, gets them interacting with other people. It's fun to come here and do what you'd call ‘normal' things.Purchase a Blizzard Treat on August, 11 2011 and $1 of your purchase will be donated to help sick and injured children at the Stollery Children's Hospital and to other local Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. For more information, visit: http://www.miracletreatday.com
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