The Carolina Panthers
Ok, you’re probably thinking, “Here he goes talking about football one post after talking about his son’s surgery!” And yes, I’m gonna talk football, but not in the way you think. This was special.
Towards the tail end of Nolan’s first day at CVICU post-surgery, the staff at CVICU gave us a sleep room. This was AWESOME. It was a private room with a big bed and private bathroom, on the same floor but set away from everything. It was nice and peaceful and it was SO needed. We were wiped out and slept like rocks. If your hospital offers you sleep room, USE THEM. Seriously!
Anyways, the next morning, we went to check in on Nolan (he was status quo) before making the tough choice to leave him for awhile to go home and check on Grant and Hudson and get some fresh clothes and whatnot. We rode the elevator down to the lobby, still kinda in a fog from the day before. As soon as we stepped off the elevator, we were greeted by a bunch of Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders and staff. Don’t get ahead of yourself, this is not a “hurrr hurrr cheerleaders!” post; they were actually inviting us to a Christmas party the Panthers were throwing for patients and families. While that was cool, I politely declined, saying our son just had heart surgery yesterday. One of the cheerleaders asked how old he is and I said 8 days old. And then they all insisted we go in to the party. INSISTED. So we went. It felt kinda weird, actually…we didn’t have a kid with us and we were all ragged from the previous days. But I’ll tell you, the staff really went to a lot of effort to make us feel welcome. They were giving out toys to all the kids and they told us to pick out a toy for Hudson and to bring it home to him. It was so nice…and we needed that outpouring of love from complete strangers.
We got to see kids really enjoying Sir Purr, the mascot, and to see a few of these GINORMOUS football players trying to do Christmas crafts with the kids…it was hilarious. One behemoth of a man was trying to stuff tinsel into these tiny glass ornaments. It was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. There were kids there in wheelchairs and whatnot and they were having a ball…and that brought me joy. The players helped us make some ornaments for all 3 boys and even stockings for them too. To be honest, I can’t remember which players were there. It didn’t really matter, they were just so kind. Everyone showed genuine support for us.
And even better, it helped that one of their teammates – Greg Olsen – was going through the same thing as us. So when the players or staff would ask “Is it the same thing as Greg’s son?” we’d say yes and they would immediately understand. As we left the room so we could finally go home, the staff and cheerleaders said goodbye and that they’d be praying for us and Nolan. Wow. What a cool day that was. And what a blessing the Carolina Panthers were that day. I know football players and other professional athletes get a bad rap sometimes, but these guys were all class and meant the world to me that day. To this day the Panthers remain very involved with Levine Children’s Hospital: they frequently visit kids and bring gifts, and they absolutely model some incredible support for their community.
As we made the drive home to see our other kiddos, we talked excitedly about what just happened: we were blown away by the generosity and kindness of the Carolina Panthers!
Posted on November 7, 2013, in awareness and tagged Carolina Panthers, CHD, congenital heart defect, CVICU, Greg Olsen, HLHS, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Norwood Procedure, surgery. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.