Herd Brings Gifts, Receives Smiles at Local Hospital

Special to HuntingtonNews.Net
Herd Brings Gifts, Receives Smiles at Local Hospital

HUNTINGTON, WV Marshall’s men’s basketball team helped spread some Holiday cheer on Tuesday by taking the time to visit sick children at Cabell Huntington Hospital.


The 13 student-athletes, along with coaches and support staff, wondered from room-to-room and delivered signed posters, basketballs and t-shirts as well as wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.


“These guys are looked to as leaders in the community because they represent the university, the city and ultimately the state,” said the hospital’s media relations manager Charles Shumaker. “To see them come in and spend a little bit of their personal time here makes it really special for the kids and their parents and for our staff as well. It gives them a little personality to the guys that they see on the basketball court.”


Herd Brings Gifts, Receives Smiles at Local Hospital

After the visiting with patients, the hospital treated the team to a lunch. During the meal, Shumaker received a call from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). A mother and father saw the Herd and requested a picture with their 2-pound, 12-ounce baby named Bryson.


The two tallest players on the team, 7-2 sophomore Yous Mbao and 6-10 junior Nigel Spikes, took a picture with the family and the tiny child, who could have easily fit inside one of Mbao’s large hands.


Mbao, who has seven brothers and sisters, knows a little bit of what the mother and father are going through.


Herd Brings Gifts, Receives Smiles at Local Hospital

“It kind of reminds me of my older brother (Pape) who was born pre-mature,” Mbao said.  “I saw some pictures of him when he was born and he looked just like some of the kids we saw today.”


Spikes was both delighted and thankful for the chance to make everyone happy.


“It feels good to do something nice around Christmas,” Spikes said. “We’re happy to come here and put a smile on everyone’s face. Not everyone gets that opportunity.”


Shumaker has seen many other Marshall teams come through the hospital doors and notices similarities in all of them.


Herd Brings Gifts, Receives Smiles at Local Hospital

“It’s really a special thing to watch them and how their outlook on life and the game they play changes when they see kids who are sick and especially the babies who are ill,” Shumaker said. “I always notice that they are a little bit different when they leave than they were when they came. When they leave, a lot of times their smiles have come down because they really thought about what they have seen.”


The Herd (8-2) plays one more game, Wednesday at 7 p.m. against West Virginia Tech, before going home to spend time with their families for Christmas.

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