Especially this time of year, teams and athletes make it a point to give back to their communities and spread holiday cheer. Locally, D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid visited MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital, and his team hosted a toy distribution event at a D.C. elementary school this month. Earlier this week, Capitals players donned jerseys and Santa hats before visiting patients and handing out gifts at MedStar Georgetown Hospital.
Redskins rookie Derrius Guice was back in the giving spirit on Wednesday. The running back, who has endeared himself to fans with various acts of kindness since he was drafted in April, sported a Santa hat and a fantastic knitted beard for his visit to Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church.
Santa Guice arrived bearing gifts, including Lego sets, coloring books and footballs. One of the first kids he visited was 3-year-old Nolan Barr, who has been hospitalized since Sunday with a respiratory illness.
“For a kid that’s in the hospital like that, every time the door opens, it’s terrifying,” Nolan’s mom, Debi Barr, said in a phone interview. “You don’t know if it’s going to be the doctor, or the respiratory specialist, or what. Our family has always been a super crazy, Redskins-obsessed family, and our son has been exposed to Washington football since he was born, so for the door to open and it to be Derrius with his Santa beard was really, really amazing.”
Nolan may not have recognized Guice, who wasn’t permitted to enter his room, but he was excited nonetheless by his new toy cars, sticker book and Elmo toothbrush.
“This kid lives for Hot Wheels cars,” said Barr, who was hopeful that Nolan would be discharged on Thursday. “For him to get those at the hospital, it’s huge . . . You can really only watch TV for so long. We’ve been such a big Redskins football family forever. [Guice] made a big impact.”
Guice’s teammate, cornerback Josh Norman, took advantage of an off day on Tuesday to travel to his hometown of Greenwood, S.C., where he took 20 foster kids on a shopping spree to Walmart, Foot Locker and T.J. Maxx.
“This is just what gives me life, gives me dreams and aspirations,” Norman told the Greenwood Index-Journal. “It’s so moving, so touching. This is what makes it all worthwhile.”
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