Kansas City,
16:30 PM

Sporting KC’s Melia, Sinovic and Zusi honored for time spent with biggest little fans at Children’s Mercy

Many Sporting KC players have spent time at Children’s Mercy through the years, but Tim Melia, Seth Sinovic and Graham Zusi visit with our patients and their families on a regular basis. And whether it’s a good game of Hedbanz or UNO, getting involved at craft time or stopping by a room to talk, everyone enjoys their time together. The players also do an amazing job of sharing the hospital’s mission in our community. For those reasons, Children’s Mercy on Tuesday honored Tim, Seth & Graham, along with Brandi Thomas and Lexi Brady from The Victory Project, as September’s Volunteers of the Month.

For more about how these Sporting KC teammates help the hospital and our kids, here are the opening remarks shared by Trista Williams, Volunteer Program Coordinator in Patient & Family Support:

"I have been told many times that I have the best job in the hospital. I can’t argue with that, but what makes my job amazing, is the people that I have the pleasure of working with on a daily basis. One of my hats during my work day, is bringing special events and visitors to our patients. And while some say a “perk” of my job is touring local athletes and celebrities around the hospital, the biggest perk is seeing the faces of our patients when they get to meet these individuals that volunteer their time. Today I have the honor of telling you all a little bit about our September Volunteers of the Month. I cannot talk about what Sporting KC does for our patients without first talking about two important people. There are not enough words to express how much I appreciate the behind the scenes organizers, Brandi Thomas and Lexi Brady. Lexi is unable to be here today, but I didn’t want her to go unnoticed. These two ladies, through their work with the Victory Project, schedule the Sporting KC players to visit our patients at LEAST monthly. If I have an event that I think would benefit from having players attend, they will get them there. Brandi and Lexi constantly talk about our organization and what we do for our patients and families and have made even the most unusual requests happen. Without the two of them, we would not have the presence of our Sporting KC players in our hospital. I started in this role in the beginning of 2016 and Sporting KC and the Victory Project have clocked in over 400 volunteer hours in those two years. They have brought players to prom, to call bingo, to hold a soccer clinic during our Camp Week and they bring the three players to monthly visits that I am going to acknowledge shortly. These ladies are helpers, encouragers, humanitarians and philanthropists. They do so much more than bring players to the hospital and I am lucky have them in my corner when it comes to patient events. What the SKC players do for our patients and families wouldn’t be possible without the organization and outreach of Brandi and Lexi, and for that, Children’s Mercy thanks you!

When you think of Sporting Kansas City, what do you think of? Soccer players. How about when you hear the names Graham Zusi, Tim Melia and Seth Sinovic? I am here to give you other things to think of them besides their soccer talent. While they are a part of a great organization and do some amazing things on the field for our local team, what they do here for our patients is what I want forever engraved in your mind. While we have a variety of Sporting players that come to our special events, these three guys come every month to brighten our patients’ days. You may know Graham for his influential play on the soccer field as a world-class athlete and Tim for his drive and determination as a goalie and Seth for his defensive game as a loyal hometown player, but I know these guys for the heart they wear on their sleeve during their visits with our patients. Whether it’s showing off their artistic side with some glitter and paint (and, let’s be honest I use the word “artistic” loosely, they should stick to soccer) or their competitive and goofy side with an intense game of Hedbanz, these guys never miss a beat when meeting our patients. They have even been known to get down and dirty with the game Toilet Trouble and to belt out a Disney tune upon request. If we ask them to do it, they will make it happen. There have been visits that these guys are the only thing that has gotten a teen patient out of their room during their hospitalization. Not only did these patients leave their room and join their peers in the playrooms, they were actually smiling and having a good time during that visit. There have been multiple visits patients were so excited to meet one of these players, that for that time during that interaction, patients weren’t thinking about their procedure or their diagnosis, they were thinking about how special these three guys made them feel. These guys are busy. Not only do they have games, but they have practices and appearances throughout the community and also families to spend time with. They never let their busy schedules get in the way of their time with our patients. These guys are humble, I think sometimes they are surprised at how excited some of our patients are when they walk into a room. These guys are the reason I became a SKC fan because they are the epitome of what an athlete should strive to be, both on and off the field. These guys are heroes to so many of our patients within these walls. And if you didn’t already know, these guys are inspirational for the time and energy they give our patients during each and every visit.

I found this quote that describes these 5 individuals perfectly. “Volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, they just have the heart”. And boy, do they all have the heart! Please join me in congratulating our September volunteers of the month, Brandi Thomas, Lexi Brady, Seth Sinovic, Graham Zusi and Tim Melia who always make the time when it comes to Children’s Mercy and our patients." 


Learn more about becoming a volunteer at Children's Mercy