Forget the fact the Capitals arrived home from their Thursday night win in Tampa at 2 a.m. on Friday.
And that they had to weave their way through Friday afternoon traffic in D.C.
The dozens of patients at Children’s NationalMedicalCenter didn’t seem to care. As a matter of fact, for a few hours Friday afternoon they didn’t care about anything other than playing video games and making Valentine’s crafts with a handful of Capitals and their wives or girlfriends.
“My husband [Scott] and I went downstairs to get some lunch and we saw all these Caps players in the lobby,” said Fawina Anthony, whose 9-year-old son, Trinity, underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a kink in his ureter.
“We went back up to the room, put Trinity in a wheelchair, and trucked him back downstairs.”
For the next hour or so Trinity Anthony drew on poster boards and engaged in conversation with Capitals defenseman Tom Poti and his wife, Jessica.
The Capitals have been visiting Children’s National Medical Center [CNMC] since 1984 and on Friday they were represented by Jay and Ashley Beagle, Jeff and Mackenzie Schultz, Nicklas Backstrom and his girlfriend Liza Berg, Michal Neuvirth and his girlfriend Monika Hybnerova, Tomas Kundradek and his girlfriend Alannah Dzerdz and Donna Oates, the wife of Capitals coach Adam Oates.
“The kids were pretty pumped to see us and some even had Caps jerseys,” said Beagle, who was making his first Washington hospital visit with the Caps. “It’s a great all-around experience and it was fun to hang out with the kids.”
Beagle, who scored his first goal of the season in Thursday night’s win, also attended a hospital visits while he was a member of the Hershey Bears.
“What I take from it is how happy the kids are in every situation, even though things for them right now aren’t going right and some of them are in the hospital for a long time,” he said. “They are still just as happy and as bright as ever.
“You can feel their positive attitude. If they can be positive in every situation, life is good. It brings you back to earth.”
(Forward Jay Beagle does arts and crafts with two young Caps fans)
Beagle’s wife, Ashley, is an oncology nurse and has shared many stories with her husband – good and bad – about the cancer patients she cared for over the years.
“Obviously, there are some she comes home with that are sad and also some that are encouraging and have happy endings,” he said. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned about her it’s that she’s got a very kind heart and cares about everyone.
“With a job like that you have to. She’s helped me to treat everyone like you’d like to be treated yourself and to just have fun with the kids. Just be yourself. The kids can see if you’re trying to be fake, so I just had a lot of fun today.”
Beagle said he met a handful of kids who had no idea he was a hockey player and they insisted he take home some of their hand-made posters.
“They’re up on my fridge,” he said, “so it’ll be a nice thing to wake up to when I have coffee and breakfast.”
Fawina Anthony, who is from Hagerstown, Md., said she’s hoping this week’s visit to CNMC will end a long and painful journey for her son.
For years he had complained about sharp pains in his side but it was not until two days after Christmas that a CT Scan at Children’s led to a diagnosis of Dietl’s crisis, a sudden and excruciating pain in the kidney caused by a kink in the ureter that disrupts the flow of urine to the kidney.
Surgery was scheduled for Thursday and Trinity Anthony did so well he was expected to be released Friday night, along with a poster and Tom Poti’s autograph tucked under his arm.
“As a mother, it meant a lot,” Fawina Anthony said. “It was really cool to see that these guys who are big stars are real down to earth people coming to visit some sick kids. It was really neat and very nice that they would take time out of their day.”
(Defenseman Jeff Schultz and a young patient play video games)