A large contingent of Bears players spent their off day Tuesday visiting sick kids at the Ann Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
“It was great,” said tight end Ben Braunecker, who was one of 26 Bears players who spread out to visit kids on five floors of the hospital.
“During the season you get trapped in the NFL bubble and you don’t really realize the impact that you still have in the community, especially when you have kind of a down season like we’re having. But it’s important to remember that you can still do a lot of good, so I thought it was a good opportunity for us to go out and do that and put smiles on some people’s faces.”
The Bears players delivered teddy bears and blankets to the kids and helped them build gingerbread houses during the two-hour visit.
“We went there hoping to put some smiles on their faces, but they put smiles on our faces,” said center Hroniss Grasu. “It was really awesome to see how positive the kids were. We want to win all these games, but when you visit these kids it really puts a lot of things in perspective. You really appreciate what you have and being able to wake up every morning and not have all those wires and tubes connected to you. They were still so happy and positive and it was really just a great experience.”
A total of 26 Bears players visited the kids. In addition to Braunecker and Grasu, the group included Adrian Amos, Prince Amukamara, Jonathan Bullard, Mike Glennon, Jordan Howard, Nick Kwiatkoski, Patrick O’Donnell, Danny Trevathan, Mitchell Trubisky, Kevin White and Cody Whitehair.
Others who also participated were Jonathan Anderson, Daniel Brown, Michael Burton, Bryce Callahan, Rashaad Coward, Andrew DePaola, Deiondre’ Hall, John Jenkins, Eric Kush, Jordan Morgan, Patrick Scales, Nelson Spruce and Colin Thompson.
“It was a lot of fun,” Brown said. “It’s hard to see kids struggling like that, but it’s nice when you get to go down there and put a smile on their faces. Some of them were kind of shy when they saw big people walk in, but when they opened up it was a lot of fun. I saw a lot of smiles today.”
The Bears players visited Lurie Children’s Hospital in part to thank the facility for the treatment it has provided to the 14-month-old daughter of the team’s assistant athletic trainer, Will Rogers, and his wife, Kristen. Charlotte Rogers is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia.