For patients visiting the infusion center at Wheat Ridge’s Lutheran Medical Center, an appointment can mean sitting in the same room for four hours, six hours or even all day, said Janette …
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For patients visiting the infusion center at Wheat Ridge’s Lutheran Medical Center, an appointment can mean sitting in the same room for four hours, six hours or even all day, said Janette O’Brien with the cancer services department. The center administers treatment to patients with a range of diagnoses, including cancer, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases.
To help make the hours go by more quickly, student basketball players from Dakota Ridge and Columbine high schools stopped by the center Jan. 15, with so many in attendance they entered the center in shifts so as not to overcrowd the room.
The visit served as a lead-up to the Think Pink game between the two schools, which took place at the end of the week. Every year, the game raises money for the Lutheran Medical Center Foundation to serve patients, including those visited on the 15th.
With the game on the horizon, the rival high school students joined forces to brighten patients’ days with gifts, snacks and conversation.
The Jan. 15 trip was just one of many Dakota Ridge and Columbine students have made over the years — the schools aim to visit at least once a year, with students from a multitude of other district schools also making visits each year, O’Brien said.
“Once the kids come, they always want to come back,” she said. “We love having them here, and you can see how much they leave changed.”
To patient Eduardo Miera, the students’ visit was an opportunity to tell stories about the decades he spent working for Lockheed Martin and advise the students to always persevere: “`Can’t’ never did anything,” he told them.
“I always want to talk to young people. Young people are our future,” he said.
Arvada resident Jeannene Fullen, who was at the center for testing, told the students stories from the time she worked as a substitute teacher at nearby elementary and middle schools.
The students’ visit was a benefit to everyone involved, she said, not only because it taught the students interpersonal skills but also because “it’s wonderful” for patients to have visitors.
Marie Kidd, another Arvada resident, agreed. She thanked the students and basketball coaches for the snacks they brought — inside a bag decorated with the words “DONUT Give Up” — and spent the visit asking questions of the visitors.
“It’s so kind of them to visit, and it’s very needed,” she said.
For Dakota Ridge basketball players Taylor Legault, Michaela Mossbrucker, Alexis Thornton and Emily Doolittle, the visit allowed them “to see another side of the community and be a part of something bigger,” Legault said.
“It gives the game more meaning,” Mossbrucker agreed. “We’re seeing who we’re playing for.”
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