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December 29, 2006

From the Heart

Last night we all went to the University of Michigan basketball game. "All" being me and David, David's brother, my mom, and my aunt and uncle. Most of us were just there to watch; David and his brother were there to work. They were filling in for our friend Shawn, who volunteers with an organization called From the Heart, which links up sick kids and athletes. They bring U of M athletes to Mott Children's Hospital and take kids from the hospital, along with their families, to U of M sporting events. At least once a week, Shawn brings several families to basketball, football, and hockey games (depending on the season), and introduces them to the players after the game. This week, however, Shawn is in Austria, so she asked David if he could fill in for her. It was supposed to be a pretty light game: there would be two families, and David would just have to greet them when they arrived at the game, help them find their seats, buy hot dogs for them, and then get them into the "tunnel" after the game to get the players' autographs. David enlisted Mike's help, and it seemed like they were set. But then the event kept growing, both in scale and intensity. By the time they got to the game last night, there were four families, all sitting in different places around the arena, and they didn't just want hot dogs: they also wanted nachos, drinks, etc. After the game, they not only had to get all of the players' autographs, but they also had to photograph each player with each family, in addition to taking pictures of the families with the cheerleaders in the middle of the basketball court. And somehow, by the time we got to this point, the four families had morphed into five. So they recruited me as the photographer. I got to use a beautiful camera that belongs to the foundation, and it ended up not being as difficult as we expected: the players were gracious about signing autographs, and the families were just so happy to be meeting them that they posed for all the shots I wanted to take. Afterwards, we had a chance to chat with the families a bit, and they were all super-nice. It felt good to be able to bring some joy into the families of children with chronic or terminal illnesses. Mike enjoyed it so much that he was ready to do it again on Saturday!

Posted by eklanche at December 29, 2006 09:00 AM


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