Sacramento Republic FC players Evan Newton, Chris Christian and Julius James delivered donated toy doctor kits at UC Davis Children’s Hospital and visited with pediatric patients this week. The professional soccer team hosted a toy drive this spring, inviting staff and fans to donate toy doctor kits.
Child life specialists use stuffed animals and toy doctor kits to explain procedures or surgery that pediatric patients may experience while at the hospital. Diana Sundberg, Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department manager said that these toy doctor kits serve a very important purpose in the children’s hospital.
“They help children understand the hospital environment, often more specifically, procedures or surgery,” Sundberg said. “They give the child the opportunity to play through their experiences, providing the chance for mastery and control, often over an environment or situation they have no control over.”
Goalkeeper Evan Newton, who visits UC Davis Children’s Hospital on a regular basis, is enthusiastic about Sacramento Republic FC’s partnership with UC Davis Health, the club’s title sponsor. Newton’s own family donated doctor kits to support the hospital’s need.
“Soccer is my passion, but to have an opportunity to support others through my passion is special,” said Newton, who while visiting UC Davis Children’s Hospital, signs autographs and plays games with the kids. “I cherish my visits and experiences at the hospital. I love making patients and their families smile anyway I can. It makes a difference that I can actually see.”
Sacramento Republic FC often uses its public platform to promote and call for donations for the hospital. Erika Bjork, vice president of marketing and communications at Sacramento Republic FC, notes how important the patient experience is, especially for a child.
“We know that a smile can sometimes be the best medicine. With our teammates at UC Davis Health, we create experiences so children with life-threatening illnesses continue to experience the magic of childhood; a time filled with learning, curiosity and play,” Bjork said.