GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Green Bay Packers linebacker Vince Biegel has yet to play his first game at Lambeau Field, but he’s already become a hero to children who are staying at a local hospital.
Biegel and his wife Sarah visited HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital Wednesday.
It’s a moment three-year-old Odin Webster had been talking about since the night before. Odin had just finished his monthly chemo treatment. His reward: and autographed football and playing catch with a Green Bay Packer.
“He says he’s going to tackle that guy. That’s what he’s been telling me all morning, that he’s going to tackle that guy,” said Odin’s mother Carrie.
That guy is Biegel–a Wisconsin Badger standout drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
Not only is Biegel granting these kids unforgettable memories, he’s also helping deliver new “brave” hospital gowns.
St. Vincent Children’s Hospital is receiving some of the 20,000 gowns being donated this month by the Starlight Children’s Foundation.
“Sometimes putting on gowns can be kind of a scary part of the hospital, so having these fun characters is awesome to see,” says Amy Hagel, certified Child Life Specialist.
Chris de Haan is VP of communications and public relations for Starlight Children’s Foundation. “Our mission is to make the hospital experience more fun for kids when they’re going through a really tough time.”
The group teamed up with Biegel through the Athletes for Hope organization. It was started by sports legends including boxing icon Muhammad Ali and tennis great Andre Agassi.
The organization’s purpose is to inspire and empower others.
One of those Biegel helped to inspire and empower was little Faith.
“Faith, we’ve got a cool little gown for you right here. Isn’t this awesome right here? This is for you to wear,” Biegel said.
That’s what Vince Biegel did when he spent time with the kids at the children’s hospital, and handed out newly designed, hospital-friendly gowns.
The gowns are decorated to make kids feel like superheroes.
“Coming in today and just putting a little light in their day, kind of sharing some of the things that make me happy, kind of talking with them, and one-on-one interaction is what it’s all about and kind of makes their day,” Biegel tells Action 2 News. “So I’m excited. I think they do more for me than what I can do for them. So it’s a win on both sides. I’m very grateful to be here with my wife and enjoying the day today.”
Biegel chose the children’s hospital for a reason.
“I’ve had some family members who’ve been in the children’s hospital, and it really puts things in perspective, and it kind of makes the game of football, more of a perspective, more of a game than it is life,” Biegel said. “And it also puts things in perspective of how grateful I am to do what I’m doing as well.”
He’s a pro at talking to kids, having done this before at a hospital in Madison while he played for the Badgers.
That means he’s prepared for anything coming his way–even a Detroit Lions fan.
Biegel: “Who’s your favorite team?”
Patient Justin Slagle, 15: “The Lions.”
Biegel: “No! You’re a Lions fan? You’re in Packer Hall,” he joked.
Starlight Children’s Foundation: https://www.starlight.org/
Athlete’s for Hope: http://www.athletesforhope.org/