Magic’s Davis, O’Quinn & Turkoglu Help Spread Holiday Cheer to Pediatric Patients
By Josh Cohen
December 13, 2012
ORLANDO -- It’s at a venue such as a hospital where you really learn how important the presence and the inspiration of a professional athlete is for children.
And it’s also a setting where you realize how much these players appreciate the support from their biggest fans and how much they truly care about the health and spirit of patients recovering from a variety of illnesses.
There were huge smiles, tons of laughter and a boost of holiday buoyancy spread throughout the Walt Disney Pavilion at Florida Hospital for Children on Thursday.
Orlando Magic players Glen “Big Baby” Davis, Hedo Turkoglu and Kyle O’Quinn joined Community Ambassadors Nick Anderson and Bo Outlaw, Magic Dancers and team mascot STUFF to deliver gifts, sign autographs and play games for young patients recovering at the hospital.
“To make someone smile, it’s really important and I’m blessed to be in a position to help children during these times,” said Davis, whose cheerfulness and charisma immediately uplifted a few of his adored fans when he arrived at each of their rooms.
It was essentially the same for another fan favorite, Turkoglu, who has been involved in innumerable charities throughout Central Florida for the past several years.
“As a player you come here by the fans and the people who support you. They make you who you are throughout your career and as a person too by cheering for you and supporting you,” Turk said.
“So by being in this situation, giving up your time a little bit, it’s worth it to see a little spark in their eyes and a smile, I know what that will mean to them. So I’m happy to be in this situation and I hope I make their day. Hopefully they will see how I am joking around and taking pictures. Hopefully we can make their day.’’
O’Quinn, meanwhile, who despite being just a rookie is already having a big influence in the community, was extremely exultant to provide a boost to so many kids in need of support.
“It’s showing that your appearance has an impact on these kids,” the first-year center said. “These are times that these kids will never forget so I am so glad to be here to help in any way I can.”
Thursday’s participation was just one of many scheduled events that the Magic will be involved with during this holiday season. They include:
Jameer Nelson purchased an assortment of gifts that he will personally deliver to a local family. J.J. Redick and Andrew Nicholson will take 75 kids from the Boys and Girls Club on a holiday shopping spree and Davis will be back in action when he distributes toys to many underprivileged children.
To learn more about the Magic in the Community, please visit http://www.nba.com/magic/community/