Ochsner Health is a system that delivers health to the people of Louisiana, Mississippi and the Gulf South with a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate.
Members of the New Orleans Saints and The Copeland Family of Restaurants visited patients at the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center and Ochsner Hospital for Children to spread some holiday joy. Players Keith Kirkwood, A.J. Klein, Wil Lutz, Thomas Morstead, David Onyemata and Tre’Quan Smith, along with Elizabeth and Al Copeland, Jr., spread well-wishes, laughter, restaurant gift cards and Saints gear among patients receiving chemotherapy. From the Cancer Center, the group progressed to Ochsner Hospital for Children, where they distributed wrapped gifts, filled stockings and Saints gifts, and visited with kids and their families, even singing Happy Birthday to an almost four-year-old patient. They were greeted with smiles and gratitude by patients, family members and staff.
“Our patients really love it when the Saints visit,” said Karen Wynn, BSN, RN, Infusion Center Manager at the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center. “Dealing with cancer during the holidays can be really challenging – more so than some other times of the year - so the players really help lift the spirits of patients and families. We all appreciate the good will and the good cheer they bring.”
Saints players began their Ochsner Hospital for Children visit in the hospital playroom, where children who are well enough can take a break from treatment or their rooms, then visited individual rooms of children too ill to be out of bed.
“The holidays can be a very challenging time when your children are sick and having a visit from the Saints brings so much joy to our patients and their families,” says Thomas Harris, Jr., Vice President of Pediatrics at Ochsner Hospital for Children. “The visit really helps lift these families out of the stress and worry of having a child in the hospital, and the players do a great job of engaging the families and encouraging the kids. We’re really grateful for the time they spend with us.”
The Copeland Family of Restaurants helped add to the joy this holiday season by hand delivering filled stockings and Copeland’s gift cards to ensure a warm holiday meal for patients and their families. Copeland’s also hosted a holiday feast for the staff members who take care of these brave patients at Ochsner to thank them for their hard work.
Saints players have visited Ochsner patients during the holiday season for the last several years.
Photo Caption: Saints players (l to r) Wil Lutz (#3), Thomas Morstead (#6) and A.J. Klein (#53) visit a young patient at Ochsner Hospital for Children.
Ochsner Health is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 30 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and more than 80 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the only Louisiana hospital recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a “Best Hospital” across three specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 60 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner employs more than 20,000 employees and over 1,200 physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties, and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.