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SMC athletes host party for children

Alicia Smith | Monday, February 8, 2010

As a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Saint Mary’s athletes came together to throw a party for the children of Memorial Hospital’s Oncology and Hematology Departments Sunday.

The Saint Mary’s Athletic Advisory Committee (SMAAC), along with the Athletic Department, organized the event, which lasted from noon until 2 p.m.

Children spent the afternoon playing games and participating in a variety of other events.
“We do it every year and its just to give back to the community and support them and show that we care about them and that we’re getting involved,” Michelle Marshall, a sophomore soccer player, said.

Children were invited come participate in crafts, have snacks and play games with their parents as well as members of the College’s Athletic Department and SMAAC.

“One of the sports is putting on Bozo cups and then we have a ton of balloons that they’ve been popping left and right,” Marshall said.

Each year the student athletes throw two parties for the children of Memorial Hospital, Marshall said. One is held in the spring and the other is in the fall. This year the spring party was in honor of Valentine’s Day and the fall party was to celebrate Halloween.

Spring sport athletes hosted the party in the fall, she said, while fall sport athletes hosted the Valentine’s Day party.

Marshall said the athletic department hosts the events to connect with the community to make a difference to area children.

“I think it’s important just to put a smile on a kid’s face. I mean, they’ve been through so much more than we’ll ever imagine,” Marshall said.

“If we can make their day a little bit better, then that’s what we can do. It’s fun too. You see kids come in here and they just get all excited about doing crafts and playing with other people.”

Marshall said the events are enjoyable experiences for everyone involved.

“Everyone looks forward to it. Everyone gets excited about it. We (student athletes) come in as a group and we just show everybody that we can just come together and be a team,” Marshall said. “I think they enjoy it.”

Marshall said the children are generally appreciative of the athletes’ efforts.

“I’ve had kids come up to and say ‘Oh this is so much fun. Thanks for doing this,'” she said. “They leave here and they’re happy so that’s all that’s important.”