Jan. 26, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - After tremendous fan support generated nearly 300 stuffed animals at the hockey team's annual Teddy Bear Toss on Jan. 21, three members of the program were at Sparrow Hospital on Thursday morning to help deliver those toys to children at Sparrow's pediatric ward playroom.
"We have had such a great relationship with Sparrow during my years here at MSU," said fifth-year senior AJ Sturges. "Through Spartan Buddies, we have been in this playroom tons of times to play with kids, whether they were hospitalized for a day, a week, or longer. Our goal is always to put a smile on a child's face while we are here - and it was so great to see their smiles today."
"We really have to thank our fans for making this possible," continued Sturges. "Over the years, the hockey fans that come to Munn have not only supported our team, but have helped to support causes that are near and dear to our hearts - by participating in things like the Teddy Bear Toss and Chuck-a-Puck, they make it possible for us to further support these worthy causes. So, thank you again to anyone who has participated in these initiatives at our home games over the years."
Sturges, senior Brett Perlini, and freshman Justin Hoomaian were on hand with a handful of children currently at Sparrow to make the donation. The players stayed afterward to paint and play games with the children.
Michigan State did a Teddy Bear Toss for the third consecutive season, and has a long, rich tradition of efforts to improve the quality of life for the children spending some time in the hospital. Through the Spartan Buddies program, athletes from all 25 varsity sports have visited the pediatric ward over the last seven years to spend some time with the young patients. Shoot for A Cure was initiated at home hockey games in January, 2009 to help join the fight against children's cancer, with all proceeds from silent auctions and chuck-a-puck at home games going to help fund children's cancer initiatives. Over the last three seasons, more than 1,000 toys have been donated to Sparrow for use in the pediatric ward, infusion center, emergency room, and other areas of the hospital which provides care to children.