As Philadelphia Union prepared for its season opener last Saturday against Portland, it also made sure to keep to a plan of providing service – in whatever way it can – to the community.
Taking a moment out of their day to recognize the bigger issues other than soccer, midfielders Cristhian Hernandez, Pedro Ribeiro and defender Richie Marquez dedicated a recent Wednesday afternoon to visit patients.
There were smiles all around as the players spent over an hour and a half meeting and spending time with 15 patients. The players signed autographs, handed out personalized pink scarves and posed for pictures with the patients, doctors, nurses and staff throughout the hospital. They went room to room socializing with the patients and most importantly, encouraging them to get better.
“It was a great experience,” said Ribeiro, who was selected in this year’s MLS SuperDraft. “It was good to come hang with these people and hopefully put a smile on their face. Everyone was extremely welcoming and it was a really unique experience. I was happy to be a part of it.”
Nothing about cancer is cheerful or easy but sometimes, something as simple as a visit can have a substantial influence on a person’s day.
“On behalf of the Crozer-Keystone Health System, I would like to thank the Philadelphia Union for this opportunity. It was a lot of fun for the patients, and the staff commented on how “happy and uplifting” the visit was for everyone,” said Marie DeStefano, R.N., M.S.N., FAAMA who works as the senior administrative director of Oncology for Crozer-Keystone Health System.
After spending the day off the pitch and in the hospital, these players and the entire Union organization hope that the time spent will have a lasting impact.