On Wednesday, October 23rd Toronto FC visited some very special children at SickKids Hospital in Toronto. The full roster of Toronto FC was present for the annual visit and as in past years, the team played Halloween Bingo with every patient. This was made possible by SickKids’ live-feed of the bingo game in their Bear Theatre, which is broadcast to every room and ward in the hospital.
The Bear Theatre was filled with cheers, laughter and of course, many exclamations of “Bingo!” all afternoon.
Andrew Wiedeman and Jeremy Hall were chosen as the enigmatic hosts of Halloween Bingo, while players like Robert Earnshaw, Danny Koevermans, Joe Bendik and Steven Caldwell tried their hand at games against the kids.
Jeremy Hall appreciated the positive atmosphere in the Bear Theatre saying, “It’s good to hear everybody cheering when they got bingo - so it’s just good to be here and see the kids.”
For the patients unable to make a trip to the Bear Theatre, Emery Welshman was on hand to answer the phone and congratulate anyone who achieved bingo in their room and send his teammates to that child with a prize.
“Community service goes a long way and nowhere is better than coming to a place like this,” says Welshman, “These kids are going through some rough times and any cheer that we can give means the world to them and means the world to us.”
Throughout the afternoon, the majority of the team spent their time travelling through the wards of the hospital visiting patients and bringing them cozy Toronto FC blankets to brighten their rooms. Every child who participated in bingo also received a blanket.
Susie Petro, Child Life Specialist at SickKids knows that these visits have an impact on the children saying: “It’s a really fun day; we play bingo every other week here at the hospital, but never with Toronto FC. So it’s a really nice treat for the kids having the players playing along with them and going up to their units to visit with them. They are very entertaining up on stage and it’s really nice to know that the community is thinking about the kids here at SickKids and coming in to spend time with them.”
With the entire team in attendance, some incredible memories were made. For 17 year old Kayla Johnston, the visit recalled other happy memories during her time at SickKids and a different visit from Toronto FC. On July 5th, Toronto FC visited the hospital for the fifth annual prom party, and Kayla didn’t forget. On Wednesday, when Kayla saw Andrew Wiedeman on the bingo broadcast she immediately called down to request a personal visit from one of the friends she made at prom. Wiedeman happily obliged, bringing a blanket up to Kayla’s room, chatting with her about her Halloween costume plans and taking of course taking some prom inspired photos.
For more information about Toronto FC’s community impact visit: www.torontofc.ca/community
For more information on SickKids Hospital visit: www.sickkids.ca/index.html