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2006: Raptors Visit Sick Children’s Hospital

June 24, 2008

rose_300_hospital.jpgJanuary 31, 2006 — (Toronto) Jalen Rose stepped into Marnie’s Lounge
at the Hospital for Sick Children Monday afternoon and was welcomed
with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday."

But Rose wasn’t the one receiving a gift, it was the kids in the lounge that were given a special surprise.

"It was very nice, it was surprising and I appreciate it a lot," said
Rose of the birthday wishes. "A lot of times people associate happiness
with making a game winning shot, or courage with being able to take it
to the basket, but being around these kids is obviously a humbling
experience. They show a lot more than a lot of athletes could ever."

Rose even received a hand made birthday card from a ten year old
patient donned in Rose?s jersey. Rose said he plans to hang the card in
his locker as a memento from the visit.

Rose wasn’t the only Raptor to visit though. The entire team showed up
to hang out in Marnie’s Lounge. They played video games and pool and
just talked with the kids.

"I think we were more successful in having fun than putting the balls
in the pockets," said Matt Bonner. "It’s great to get out here and
bring some happiness and put a smile on the kids’ faces."

After spending time in the lounge the players split up to spread the
smiles onto the faces of kids that are stuck in different the wards
around the hospital.

"The kids are so excited," said Chelsea Gay, a communications
specialist at the hospital. "They’re just so happy to see them because
these are people they see on television and they’re like heroes to
them."

It’s not everyday that you get to meet your hero up close and personal so what is it really like?

"They seem a lot bigger and a lot more friendly," said Benjamin Joseph, a patient who likes to hang out in Marnie’s Lounge.

"It’s great to show what the guys are like off the court. They have a
really great spirit," said Alanna Rubino, manager of the Raptor’s
Foundation. "It livens the kids up and brings a bright shine to their
day."

The kids seemed to have the same effect on the Raptors as well.