Photo Credit: Pablo Maurer
Walking into the atrium, it doesnt feel like a hospital at all. Light floods in through the skylight of Children's National Medical Center, with colorful blimps that occupy the space above your head. The children have ear-to-ear smiles and are full of happiness, pulling your attention away from their hospital gowns, wheelchairs and bandages.
- Photo Gallery: Children's National Medical Center visit
“I love this visit,” D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius said. “I think its rewarding to see these kids and hopefully put a smile on their faces, even if it’s just for a few minutes.”
Together, the patients and United players, including Davy Arnaud, Steven Birnbaum, Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin, Perry Kitchen, Collin Martin, Chris Pontius and Chris Rolfe, colored soccer-themed pictures and D.C. United logos, danced and played video games.
“We have the ability to affect kids in a way many don’t,” Pontius said.
For Collin Martin, visiting Children’s holds a special place in his memory and in his heart; Martin’s father is a cardiologist at the hospital.
“I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid with my dad,” Martin stated. “This place helps a lot of people in the area.”
After Boswell, Franklin, Arnaud, Martin and Pontius made personal room visits with a few kids who could not make it downstairs, Martin remained behind with his father.
“I am going to see a bunch of people I knew when I was younger,” Martin said. “I enjoy coming here; it means a lot to the kids that are here.”
This special visit holds meaning for both the children and the players.
Said Pontius: “For me, this is one of the best appearances we do and the most rewarding, personally."
To view the full photo gallery, click here.