It’s usually Jonathan French’s big smile and sense of humor that lifts spirits at Connecticut Children Medical Center.
But Wednesday there were a few special guests that came to spread some holiday cheer.
Andrea Cadigan and Jonet Nichelle of the New England Patriots Cheerleading Squad made a visit to offer some warm wishes and warm blankets to some of the medical center’s biggest football fans.
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“Being here during the holiday season is extremely special and it’s a very rewarding feeling to give back to the community,” said Nichelle, who is from North Haven. “I’m from Connecticut so this really hits close to home for me.”
French, a 19-year-old from Hartford, is a Patriots fan. He watches all their games on Sundays to cheer on his favorite player Tom Brady.
“The Patriots. They are absolutely my number one favorite, favorite, favorite football team and I am just truly glad to be a part of the Pats family.”
The cheerleaders handed out 200 fleece blankets, some decorated with rainbows, others with the American Flag or playful cartoon monkeys. The blankets were put together by Optum and United Healthcare.
“Coming here, seeing all the kids, putting smiles on their faces, it’s so rewarding,” said Cadigan. It really makes this job so worth it.”
Cadigan and Nichelle spent quality time in each room they visited, talking sports and Christmas wishes and in some cases, finding out many of the young patients were not fans of their team to the north. Some cheer for Giants or Vikings, while others prefer to watch LeBron and Steph Curry.
No matter who they root for on the sports field, everyone was rooting for the children - rooting for a quick recovery and a happy holiday season.
“Despite the fact that we’re in the hospital, it’s good to know that there is somebody out there that’s thnking about us, praying for us, whatever the case maybe,” said French. “You know, hoping that we will get well soon and get out of here with a smile on our face.”