Following practice on Monday morning the Washington Capitals players and a few of the staff boarded a bus for Medstar Georgetown University Hospital to brighten the day for some special children and families. This year Ellie’s Hats was one of the charity groups invited to join the Caps for this annual tradition that brings big smiles to children who might otherwise have the brightest of holidays.
Ellie’s Hats provided hats for the players to give out to the children, including some Caps hats donated by Leidos as part of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Campaign. In addition, Ellie’s Hats brought some fun character hats for the children too.
As Jay Coakley, founder of Ellie’s Hats, found today, this visit has far-reaching impact on the lives of the children, the MedStar staff, and the players themselves. One young man had returned to the unit because this day means so much to him. His wish for today was to meet Alex Ovechkin and in that moment his troubles were lifted and his smile told the sheer joy he was experiencing. One young girl came to get a Capitals hat to send to her grandfather–thinking of someone other than herself in that moment.
And lets not forget the players themselves. Most of these men are fathers of young children themselves. Many of them are actively involved in organizations that provide assistance to children. But as fathers this visit weighed heavily on their hearts as well. There is little doubt that they will be holding their little ones closer tonight.
That said, the players thoroughly enjoyed visiting the children and the children were excited to have them visiting too! They stopped by the ICU to see some courageous children who are fighting for their lives and they sat at tiny tables and made arts and crafts with those patients who were able to join them.
Of all things the Washington Capitals organization do in our community, there is nothing more special then this tradition. Ellie’s Hats felt honored to be a part of this amazing outpouring of love from this group of men. Today, Jay heard some heartbreaking stories from the families as they struggle emotionally and financially in the battle for their children.
Please consider donating to Ellie’s Hats here. They do so much more than give out hats and your donation could make a huge difference in the lives of these families.