Trail Blazers bring holiday spirit to kids at Doernbecher hospital

Portland Trail Blazers Pat Connaughton, second from left, and Ed Davis, third from left, visit kids and their families at Doernbecher Children's Hospital on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. (KATU Photo)

It was a beautiful Thursday afternoon as the Portland Trail Blazers took a field trip to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

After practice, they spent some time at the hospital spreading some holiday joy. For years the Blazers have taken time for the kids and their families.

“The impact that we can have on them is unbelievable – even further than we can even imagine,” said guard Damian Lillard. “Every guy on our team takes pride in (and) really enjoys being able to do things like this. I’m happy that we can be here and lift their spirits, but also come and be introduced to them and meet them.”

They split into groups and went from room to room, visiting young patients and their families.

The Blazers delivered giveaways and signed posters.

“It means a lot for them to come out into the community and to take the time out of their day to come and see my son who they don’t even know,” said Steve Hansen, whose son is a patient at Doernbecher.

It was at times emotional for the players and the families.

“It was wonderful. It’s very hard to be in the hospital this time of year with my daughter, but it was great for my other kids to see them and brought some joy to them today, which is very important at this time,” said Jillian Jensen, whose daughter is a patient at Doernbecher.

“Sometimes you’re there for the parents,” said Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. “The child isn’t necessarily aware of what is going on, but the parents are, so it’s more than just the kids. Families are involved in this, and whatever we can do, it is heartwarming, but also there’s a sense of gratitude.”

“Having the experience of having somebody of their stature just kind of lifts up everybody’s spirits around here, so it’s been really wonderful,” said Allison Laurenza, a child life specialist at Doernbecher.

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