Every kid looks forward to opening presents at home during the holiday season, but some children will be spending the holidays in the hospital.
Armstead, who played football and basketball at Pleasant Grove High School in Elk Grove, bought hundreds of toys, electronics and gift cards for kids undergoing treatment.
Children and their parents visited a hospital playroom packed full of stuffed animals, footballs, dolls and Star Wars toys.
The 6’7”, 290-pound Armstead and his family helped babies, children and teens pick out their favorite toys and handed out gift cards.
“It’s a lot of fun for me to be able to come here and try to have a positive impact on young people’s lives,” Armstead said. “It’s nice to put a smile on their faces and try to take away some of the negative thoughts on what they are going through at the time.”
Children beamed with excitement as they shopped through the overwhelming assortment of goodies, as Armstead encouraged them to take as much as they wanted.
“I think sometimes we take for granted our blessings and what we have in life,” Armstead said. “These kids are going through the toughest times – the toughest things imaginable – and it puts it in perspective of how fortunate we are and the blessings we do have. And I think people should be reminded of that.”
After kids came through the playroom to pick out toys, Armstead loaded up a cart and went bedside to deliver gifts to children who can’t or don’t feel well enough to leave their hospital bed.
This is the fourth year Armstead has delivered toys at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. He said it’s great to come back every year and have fun with the kids.
“It’s fun every year to be able to come here and put a smile on the kids’ faces,” Armstead said. “I’m able to hang out with them and hope that this moment can get them through the tough times. It’s a huge blessing to have the opportunity to do this and to be fortunate enough to come here. And I’m sure I have just as much fun as they do.”
UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital providing care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for its critically ill patients, as well as a level I children’s surgery center. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. For more information, visit children.ucdavis.edu.