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The Kansas City Star: Absent during the pandemic? Chiefs charity appearances. But they’re finding a way

By Sam McDowell

Tyreek Hill stood up from his chair, walked into the living room and glided across the floor while striking the pose of a ballerina. Balanced himself on his toes. Placed his hands above his head. The full performance.

A few minutes later, he returned, this time to “hit the woah,” a popular Internet dance move that he seemed to have tried once or twice before.

All on a dare.

From some kids.

Hill, the superstar Chiefs receiver, performed the acts in front of Children’s Mercy Hospital patients — as his “punishment” for failing to answer a couple of trivia questions. The kids watched from their hospital rooms. They knew some of the answers. And when Hill became stumped, they pounced.

“It’s great (for the kids) to see the athletes act like that,” said Trista Williams, Child Life Program coordinator at Children’s Mercy. “It’s fun to see them act like normal people.”

Even if on a monitor. Because right now, it’s all they have. This is the look of professional players’ charity appearances in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two years ago, Hill arrived at Children’s Mercy around Christmas time with a bag of gifts. He visited with kids at their beds and handed out the presents, stopping from room to room.

Last year, Chiefs defensive lineman Mike Pennel arrived there with a sack of toys, items like board games and video game controllers, and passed them out to kids receiving dialysis treatments. Pennel had once been a patient at Children’s Mercy as a young kid, and he wanted to return the favor.

Those days are gone. For now.

At places like Children’s Mercy, where visits from local teams like Sporting KC, the Royals and Chiefs have become the norm, it’s all been put on hold since March.

At Children’s Mercy Hospital, they’re using an in-house TV station that has been rarely, if at all, used for years. It’s set up in the chapel. The kids can watch 8-10 shows per week. Music Mondays. Trivia Tuesdays.

Thursdays are the wild card, and they hope they might see someone they know. A Chiefs player. A Sporting KC athlete.

“It’s hard to replicate, and we’re still not replicating it,” said Williams, the CMH Child Life Program coordinator. “... But this also has us reinventing the wheel. I think one thing COVID has taught us all is we can think outside the box and (do things) we didn’t think we could do before.”


Read the full story via The Kansas City Star

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