The Miami Dolphins Visit Children At Baptist Hospital

The Miami Dolphins pose with the staff at Baptist Hospital.

“His name is Damon.”

With those four words, the entire hospital floor at Baptist Children’s Hospital in South Miami fell in love with the cutest 11-year-old baby boy sitting in a stroller with his Abuelita standing right beside him. It was there baby Damon would chuckle and smile with his official Miami Dolphins bib on as he looked at all of the people who were in front of him. During a time where Miami Dolphins football players, cheerleaders, and even the mascot T.D. were in attendance, baby Damon left as the headliner of the show.

Miami Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks (#3), safety Shamiel Gary (#27) and cheerleader.
Miami Dolphins kicker Andrew Franks (#3), safety Shamiel Gary (#27) and cheerleader.

His Abuelita was a nice woman herself as she spoke candidly about Damon’s medical condition. The moment lit up a room on a stormy afternoon in Kendall. So stormy if a sunroof were open it would flood the inside of a car. It was there inside of that hospital floor during a dark time outside, there was sunlight indoors.

“I think it means a lot to them. Just to give them a little bit more hope, I think is really important” said Dolphins place kicker Andrew Franks. “It’s a really huge factor in their way to get healthy again is to have hope in themselves. Just to have high spirits….They’ve been in the hospital for a couple days, maybe a couple weeks and just to sort of distract them is a huge factor….I think our platform, I think this is what this is sort of meant for is to really give back to help out to people that are having a hard time, not as fortunate as we are right now. So I think it’s a great opportunity for us to five back to the community” said Franks.

There are many ways to make someone’s day. For some it could be just a smile, to others a compliment, and to some even hugs. For the Miami Dolphins, they made an entire children’s hospital happy just because they took time out of their day to visit people who needed the most sunshine in the midst of the rain. They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and to the children inside of the hospital they too realized that it was more than just their family, the hospital staff, and the doctors that cared about their well being.

One 17-year-old girl inside of the hospital named Emily also took notice as she began talking to the players, cheerleaders, and mascot about her future plans of attending Georgetown University.

“It’s pretty cool that public figures go out to hospitals and talk to kids and just kind of make them feel better in situations, where they’re not necessarily feeling the best and when all you have is a T.V. that has 100 commercials all day long. It’s pretty cool to just come out and say hit to the kids and let them know someone cares” said Emily.

Even though the day was storming and raining outside, it never did stop the energy that was inside of the hospital. Nathaniel Ortiz, Baptist Hospital’s Vice President of Operations also had some very encouraging words about the Dolphins and the patients inside of the hospital.

The Miami Dolphins pose with the staff at Baptist Hospital.
The Miami Dolphins pose with the staff at Baptist Hospital.

“Really this was intended to be a day of uplifting and helping the spirits out. It could be tough for the patients and their families to be here in the hospital. The stays aren’t always short. To have the players come through and give encouragement I think is fantastic” said Ortiz. “This is definitely a treat for them because it’s not every day when you get to meet a professional athlete. {For the players} It does provide a special interaction for them. It’s not something they get every day. We work in the hospital every day so it’s fortunate and blessed that we get to see folks get better, improve and go home. This is not the environment that they’re used to performing in, a stadium full of 70,000 people. It’s a very different environment for them but rewarding for them when they get to see the smiles they put on someone else’s faces.”

Fortunately, for the workers and staff at Baptist they do get to see people every day get better. Hopefully, each and every one of the patients inside gets a touch of strength as well.

D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter@DJoumbarey.

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