Lannan and Stammen Bring Joy to Guests at the Children’s Inn
Nationals pitchers John Lannan and Craig Stammen visited with 10 children and their families at The Children’s Inn at NIH yesterday, their first visit to the facility which houses children receiving treatment for life-threatening diseases at NIH. The Inn was decorated for Halloween–some children already in their costumes for the evening’s Halloween party–and an air of excitement surrounded the day’s activities.
“Our mission is to take kids minds off of why they come here,” said Meredith Daly, a Media Relations Coordinator at the Inn. “They come here for really difficult journeys, they’re going through life-threatening illnesses and if we can raise their spirits and make them feel a little bit better when they come, we’ve done our job.”
Lannan partnered with The Children’s Inn through the Lannan’s Cannons program, created mid-way through the 2009 season, in which he hosted children and their families from the Inn for a day of fun at the ballpark. Along with tickets and food vouchers for the game, John named The Children’s Inn his beneficiary for the $7,500 donation he received when he was nominated for the 2009 Roberto Clemente Award. The visit began with a check presentation to the Inn in front of the fireplace.
Lannan, Stammen and the kids then settled in for a reading of everyone’s favorite baseball book: “Casey at the Bat”. The kids (and Stammen) listened intently as Lannan told them the story of mighty Casey up to bat with the game on the line. After hearing about baseball the kids were ready to enjoy the fall weather and play ball on the sports court. They lined up for a chance to throw to John and Craig. Everyone had a great time running and playing with the Major Leaguers.
“Anything like this makes the stay that much easier and keeps the days a little bit more optimistic and more upbeat,” Colleen Paduani said, the mother of Quinn (Minnie Mouse) and Declan. “The Inn is the greatest place to get away–almost like a vacation when it comes to the kids. There’s just so much stuff going on here it makes it not so bad. It’s like a second family.”
When the children had their fill of the outdoors they returned inside to find “Screech” waiting for them with Build-A-Bear Screech dolls and baseball cards for everyone. The players and Screech signed autographs and talked to the kids a bit longer before it was time to get ready for the evening’s Halloween party.
“This whole thing sparked up during the middle of the season. I’ve been trying to come out here the whole year,” Lannan said. “It’s just great that I was in the area and I was able to come out here and see the kids. They came to the games and supported us. I want to come here today and show our support for them. Overall, it was a great visit.”
“It’s good we can come out here when the season’s over and connect with the kids, get out there on the playground and have a taste of fun,” Stammen added. “It’s great to help out the community when we get helped out on the field.”
Lannan and Stammen walked with the kids to the Halloween party at NIH’s main building and spent time greeting patients, playing games, being wrapped up like mummies and celebrating with the group.
“It keeps you humbled,” Lannan said. “It keeps you grounded. I’m grateful to be in a place where I get to give back. They are sick–I’m glad I can be here and have fun with them.”