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Islanders players spread holiday cheer at Maimonides hospital

December 18, 2018 By Jaime DeJesus Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Islanders players Luca Sbisa and Adam Pelech with Dr. Jeffrey Avner and patients. Eagle photo by Jaime DeJesus
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Giving back the Brooklyn way.

On Thursday, Dec. 13, New York Islanders defensemen Luca Sbisa and Adam Pelech showed up at Maimonides Medical Center at 4802 10th Ave. to provide some holiday cheer to pediatric patients by giving out presents, mingling with them and helping the patients make some holiday crafts.

“I think it is great support for the kids to see visitors come,” said Dr. Jeffrey Avner, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Maimonides. “It’s very difficult to be a child in a hospital, especially at this time of the year, and it’s very encouraging and uplifting to have anyone visit, but especially sports players because of their public status. It’s very uplifting for the kids and so much of what we know about children healing has to do with their emotions and moods. That is what we try to do here in general at Maimonides Children’s Hospital — create an environment to promote healing — and I think this plays into that.”

It was all smiles as Sbisa and Pelech walked into the playroom, greeted the kids and presented them with toys, games and Islanders apparel.

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“It’s obviously something that means a lot to us to be able to do this, especially during the holiday season, to come here, give some gifts, T-shirts, hats and autographs,” Pelech said. “If we can put a smile on their faces in any way, it’s huge for us, especially during the holiday season. That’s when it’s toughest on everyone for these kids that are in the hospital.”

After visiting the game room, the players went to several rooms where the pediatric patients in bed were thrilled to see them with presents in hand

“It’s a special day,” Sbisa said. “Coming here and having the chance to meet these kids is pretty special because it puts everything into perspective. These kids are going through a really hard time. They’re all smiles. It’s pretty cool to see and for us, it’s an easy thing. It’s a few hours out of our day and if we’re able to do something special for them, I think it’s a win for both. I’m very grateful to have the chance to come and meet these kids. I’m very impressed how they fight this fight.”

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