Leeds Rhinos players and staff were out spreading festive cheer in the local community last week with their annual visit to the Leeds Children’s Hospital.
Representatives from the Rhinos‘ men’s and women’s squads handed out gifts to the patients, with the money for those presents raised – as is traditional – by the players donating kit to the club’s foundation for a ‘Christmas Crackers sale’.
Amongst those to spend time at the children’s hospital were men’s captain Cameron Smith, team-mate Mikolaj Oledzki, head coach Rohan Smith and women’s hooker Keara Bennett.
Leeds Rhinos stars spread festive cheer in local community: ‘It’s only right that we pay back’
Rhinos ace Jarrad O’Connor said: “We know there are some people are going through tough times at the moment and being in hospital at Christmas is difficult for children and their families, so we are pleased to come down and hopefully put a smile on people’s faces.
“The whole city of Leeds shows us support every week and it’s only right that we pay that back and do our part to support our community and help those out who are a bit less fortunate.”
One of the youngsters – seven-year-old Vinny – was attending the hospital for surgery, and was able to get his Leeds shirt signed by all the team, with his mum Emma saying: “It’s been overwhelming and it just shows that every cloud has a silver lining!
“The players are all so polite and respectful. We were feeling a bit down in the middle of the day but now we’re all smiles.”
Meanwhile, Leeds Children’s Hospital’s Therapeutic and Specialised Play Manager Lisa Beaumont said: “It’s been a lovely afternoon with the Rhinos squad.
“We have lots of children on the wards in the build-up to Christmas, and no child wants to be in hospital at this time of year, so the fact the Rhinos come in and can bring a bit of the Christmas magic with them, givingive out gifts to patients and bringing smiles to the faces of some of the parents has been great. Things like this really make such a big difference.”
If you would like to donate to the Leeds Children’s Hospital Christmas appeal and find out about the Christmas Wish List, click HERE.