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  • December 18, 2019

    Teaming up with MedStar Health, players with the Washington Capitals decked the halls and spread holiday cheer with sick patients at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Donning Santa hats and elf ears, and accompanied by team mascot Slapshot, the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup champions delivered team gear to inpatient units where children will be hospitalized for the holidays and worked on festive art projects with children and their families in the outpatient clinic.    

    “We bring the kids a smile, that’s what it’s all about,” said team captain Alex Ovechkin, wearing reindeer antlers. “We really appreciate these kids and their families supporting us and we try to support them.”

    In an assist by Tracy’s Kids and the Hope for Henry Foundation, kids, their siblings and the players enjoyed a party, decorated a giant gingerbread house, made sparkly ornaments and were treated to an array of Caps gear that the players eagerly autographed.

    Washington_Capitals_Visit_2019_infant_with_cap_hat_onTracy Councill, director of MedStar Georgetown’s art therapy program, Tracy’s Kids said, “Immersing themselves in art while being treated here helps kids understand they’re not alone.  They make friends, work on an art project and can be with other kids going through similar things.”

    Goalie Braden Holtby, up to his Caps jersey shirtsleeves in glitter while decorating an ornament with a young patient said, “Many of these families have so much happening that we can’t even imagine.  I hope our visit makes it a little easier.”

    “Many of these children are sick for so long,” said Laurie Strongin, founder and CEO of Hope for Henry, a foundation named after her son Henry who died at MedStar Georgetown 17 years ago and provides everything from parties to laptops for sick and hospitalized children.  “While medical care is critical to their survival, ensuring their quality of life is also necessary for healing.  A visit from the Capitals helps provide entertaining distractions and allows kids to forget about their illness and just be kids for the day.”

    Washington_Capitals_Lars_Eller_and_Hope_for_Henry_Founder_CEO_Laurie_Strongin_with_patientsIngrid Durand, big sister to her seven-month old brother who recently received a liver transplant at MedStar Georgetown also got to enjoy the festivities.  “It’s hard to believe we’re actually seeing the Caps after all the things we’ve been through. I think it’s a relief.”

    Ingrid’s dad Bart Durand appreciates that the Caps players would take the time to engage with the kids.  “It brings joy to the families. To see their heroes on the ice in person is just great.  I’m sure they’ll never forget it.”

    Mary Durand says events like this really help brighten the spirits of families dealing with complex medical issues. “When you’ve been through hardship the bright spots mean a lot.  We’re learning to appreciate the bright spots so much more and we just hang on to the joy that comes with it.”




  • September 26, 2019
    More Than 100 Families of NICU Babies Gather for 31st Annual Celebration
  • January 11, 2019

    Washington, D.C., – For kids who spend time in the pediatric hematology clinic at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, it’s not uncommon to see Washington Capitals decorations, art projects, giveaways or even players hoping to help in their recoveries. But a Caps-themed breakfast treat? This was something new.

    “I actually had my appointment here today, and it was a surprise!” said 10-year-old patient Nathan Job.

    Breakfast of Champions

    The excited group of clinic patients burst into smiles and rushed to the door as their mystery delivery person, all-star center Alex Ovechkin, walked in to share his new honey-nut cereal ‘Ovi O’s.’ The clinic’s art table soon became the breakfast table as Ovechkin sat down to hang out with the kids, serve bowls of cereal and pour milk.

    “I like the honey,” Job said. “It’s actually really good!”

    Each child received their own box of Ovi’s O’s to take home, and Ovechkin ended up autographing each one.

    A portion of the proceeds from the cereal, available at local Giant Food stores starting Sept. 17, will benefit the Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc. a Maryland-based non-profit committed to funding pediatric cancer research.

    It’s How We Treat People

    As the official medical team of the Washington Capitals, MedStar Health routinely teams with Ovi, the Capitals and Monumental Sports to create special experiences for these youngsters, many of whom have been treated for cancer, organ failure and other illnesses.

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    “They enjoy it, we enjoy it and we all have a great time,” said Ovechkin.

    The team stops by the hospital to visit every holiday season, and Ovi personally carried the Stanley Cup into the clinic last June as the team celebrated its historic championship win.

    “We give kids happiness, a smile on their face and hope it helps them do well and get better,” Ovechkin said.

    An Unforgettable Moment

    For kids and families who have been through so much, spending time with one of their heroes, like Ovechkin, is a chance to temporarily set aside treatment regimens, recovery and stress.

    “It makes me feel a lot more happier about going to the hospital,” said patient Joe Miller.

    “That makes me come here more, and I like the art, so it’s good for me too,” adds brother James Miller.

    MedStar Health partners help to build especially festive atmospheres for families in the pediatric hematology oncology clinic. For Ovechkin’s most recent visit, Tracy’s Kids art therapy program organized a Capitals themed art project, and Hope For Henry made sure that every child left with Caps t-shirts, hats and other pieces of memorabilia.

  • December 26, 2018

    WASHINGTON, D.C., —Recently, the National Center for Children’s Rehabilitation at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital was paid a special visit by DC United staff including goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

    The pediatric patients welcomed the United staff and Hamid with signs saluting our local men’s professional soccer squad and Hamid returned the favor with some greeting and fun with our pediatrics patients and a little game of soccer.

    Thanks to Hamid and the United for brightening our pediatric patients’ days! Check out these great photos here.

    For additional information about the MedStar NRH pediatric program, click here.

    # # #

    About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network
    The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

    The Network’s interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.
    The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopaedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

    Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, D.C., and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

    For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to

  • August 02, 2018
    Hope for Henry and Dormify Partner to Help Ease Transition from Home to Hospital
  • July 18, 2018
    Becomes Baltimore’s First Hospital to be Honored for Promoting Safe Sleep for Infants