Pacers Pay Visit to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital

by Kyle Grand

To try to spread some joy this holiday season, the Pacers paid a visit to patients at the Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent on Tuesday. Pacers coaches Nate McMillan and Dan Burke and players Glenn Robinson III and Bojan Bogdanovic were accompanied by members of the Pacemates and Boomer during their stop at the hospital.

They brought assorted gifts with them, took pictures and signed autographs and had a pizza party with the youngsters and their families.

"It's exciting," Victoria Alexander said. She was there along with other members of her family to support their niece who's currently a patient. "It's motivating for the children. When they're excited it probably helps with the healing. We thank them for coming and sharing with the kids."

PHOTO GALLERY: Peyton Manning Children's Hospital Visit »

Robinson III, who had to spend time in the hospital earlier this year after an ankle injury required him to get surgery, knows the value a visit can provide and was eager to spend time with the children.

"It really means a lot to them," Robinson III said. "When I was in the hospital a couple months ago, I was looking for someone to come see me too and put a smile on my face."

"It’s an unbelievable experience," he said of making the visit. "Just to see the looks on some of these kid's faces when they see an NBA player. Some don't really know who we are but to just put a smile on their face for a couple minutes, get them out of the room or whatever they're in, it's definitely a life-changing event every time we come."

After spending time with children who were able to make it to the pizza party, the players and coaches made sure to stop by and see children who weren’t able to leave their rooms for the fun. Some were just resting but others can’t because of their condition.

For head coach Nate McMillan, he looks forward to days like Tuesday and just wishes the children make a full recovery.

“I’ve always enjoyed coming to the hospital to visit the kids and the families, just to try to put a smile on their face. This is such a tough time to be in the hospital, any time is, but certainly during the holiday season, and we’ve been able to get some of those kids to smile.”

“[I] just hope and pray that kids get healthy and can get home.”

The visit eventually came to a close, but it was easy to see the mood around the hospital was a little bit brighter and cheerier thanks to McMillan and his fellow Pacers.


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