Earthquakes visit Benioff Children's Hospital
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – San Jose Earthquakes players Matt Luzunaris and Sam Cronin paid a visit to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday to spend time with kids in the outpatient and oncology wards.
Quakes forward Matt Luzunaris was particularly moved during his visit to Benioff. Luzunaris’ brother passed away from cancer and his girlfriend is now three weeks in remission after battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Luzunaris and Cronin played video games, watched clips of movies, talked about sports and socialized with 11 children fighting various illnesses as well as their families. Luzunaris even tried to juggle for a shy patient. Each kid received a mini soccer ball, San Jose Earthquakes stickers, autographed pictures, and had the opportunity to take photos with San Jose’s players.
“You can tell that it has really made a difference in each patient’s day, especially if it is a patient that enjoys soccer,” said Child Care Specialist, Stephanie Nobles. “Even if the patients are not as familiar with soccer, it is just something to brighten their day. It is great for them to meet new people and provide a sort of distraction from their day to day of being in a hospital setting. Everybody is smiling and laughing and really enjoying each other.”
One enthusiastic nine year old named Kevin showed off his Game Cube skills and greeted the players every time they walked by. He is a very proud big brother and tenderly introduced the players to his baby sister, Katie, who was just as excited about the new soccer balls.
Every child was eager to meet the players and waited patiently as they made their rounds. The San Jose Earthquakes put a lot of smiles on their faces, and were asked to visit again soon.