On Wednesday, the patients of Children’s Mercy Hospital gained some new “buddies”—and met Chiefs players too.
Partnered with the Chiefs since 1996, the Shadow Buddies Foundation delivers stuffed dolls—called “Buddies”—to sick children. The dolls are usually tailored to each child’s specific condition to relate with their recipient, but on Wednesday, Cassel handed out “buddies” wearing red and gold No. 7’s and Chiefs apparel.
Cassel said that player visits help children briefly forget about their illness and be kids again.
“It’s pretty amazing to be able to go to the hospital, interact with the children, give them one of these ‘buddies,’ and see their faces light up,” said Cassel, who replaced Tony Gonzalez as the Shadow Buddies spokesperson four years ago. “Especially now that I’m a father of two, being able to come here to Children’s Mercy and interact with the children here puts things in perspective for you.”
Succop, who handed out his share of dolls and high fives during the event, said that Chiefs players are uniquely positioned to help cheer up the children of Mercy Hospital.
“We’ve been given a really neat platform as Chiefs players,” said Succop. “That means a lot, and so when we come in and get to meet these kids, they automatically want to talk to us and hear what we have to say. And that allows for us to have an open and easily conversation.”
Easy conversations are few and far between for sick children, but Cassel and his teammates helped bridge the gap during their visit.
“They’re all excited to have a player from the Kansas City Chiefs come visit them,” said Shadow Buddies founder Marty Postlethwait. “They’ll be able to get the players to sign their ‘buddies,’ and those ‘buddies’ will be a constant reminder that they do have people that care about them.”