LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Purdue University women’s basketball team is in Southwest Florida participating in the Gulf Coast Showcase, but on Friday the team took some time to make a special visit to the Golisano Children’s Hospital.
The young kids in the hospital were able to focus their attention on something other than their treatment, sharing smiles and shooting hoops with the team.
“I think they enjoy the time away from the patient rooms and doctors,” said Hayden Hamby, senior team captain. “I think it’s very meaningful. If you are in a hospital, no one would want to be in the setting all the time.”
The one hour visit from the team left a lifelong impression on young kids like Eric Brown.
“We got to color a little and make some basketballs, we handed out posters and signed some autographs, we played with the kids a little bit.”
Basketball is Eric’s favorite sport. He was able to show the team his skills during the visit.
“I feel pretty good, he really loves basketball, so he is feeling a lot better now,” said Sharniece Russaw.
“To give is a lot better than to receive, so when we met the parents, they are so happy we would take the time to do something special for these young kids,” said Coach Sharon Versyp.
The team made the visit just a few hours before their first game in the Gulf Coast Showcase. Hamby says the visit puts things in perspective for the team, which is why they jump at every opportunity to give back to those need it most.
“Just to be able to come here, and give back, and be a blessing to them is something important to this team,” said Hamby.
“We receive so much more from these kids than we can ever give them,” said Versyp.
Friday night, the team plays against LSU at 7:30 p.m. at Germain Arena.