By: Amit Shimshi, Little Champ Role Model
This Fall I had the pleasure of hanging out with Chris at the Ronald McDonald House. Coy and I visited Chris every Friday, and every week was more fun than the previous one! Chris’ outgoing, feisty personality shown through in our intense games of Word on the Street. But of course, Coy and I did not let Chris win easily… We fought our way to victory several times (although I’m pretty sure Chris ended up being the overall champion). Despite our hard-earned wins, Chris outwitted Coy and I with his unique and creative vocabulary choices.
Every week sparked a new conversation with Chris. I especially enjoyed learning about Chris favorite outdoors-y things to do with his family and friends. His passion for the outdoors helped him get the upper hand on Coy and I in our games of Word on Street, and I even learned some fishing jargon! Throughout our time together, Chris, Coy, and I did so many fun things like watching silly reality TV shows and sharing Halloween candy (but not the Starburst, those are Chris’ favorite!)
Visiting Chris quickly became the highlight of my week. During a tough semester, knowing that I have a friend who is looking forward to my visit helped me pull through with a positive attitude. I remember a particular week in which I had four exams and lots of stress… Knowing that I was going to laugh with Chris and Coy after all of the craziness at school made me feel so much better and motivated me to remember that there will be many fun moments coming up! I am so thankful for Chris and Coy and our time together—Chris showed me what a real champion is like!
By Jen Lutz, Friendship Champion
An afternoon of game after game of Uno is a surefire way to become fast friends with someone new. Well, at least that’s how it happened with 13 year old Lacey.
Initially, Lacey seemed shy and reluctant to spend time with me. Nonetheless, in hopes of breaking the ice, I asked her if she’d like to play a game of Uno and that was practically all it took. From there, things quickly got competitive and full of giggles.
We began trash talking and victory dancing, as any good Uno players should. Toward the end of our afternoon, I told Lacey about CCChampions and the work we do. I finished my explanation by asking Lacey what she’d like to be when she grows up. Lacey shrugged and said, “I don’t know.” I offered some suggestions and Lacey simply shrugged again. So then it was my turn to do some thinking.
I realized that perhaps Lacey didn’t need a role model as far as a future occupation, but maybe she needed some new friends and something to look forward to during her lengthy stays in the hospital. I asked Lacey if it would be okay if I brought some fun people with me the next time I visited. Lacey quickly agreed to that idea.
Shortly thereafter, I introduced Lacey to Erica and Caroline. They are two incredibly fun, energetic, and hilarious nursing students from The University of Pittsburgh. Erica and Caroline are strong Uno players, but that isn’t all they have in common with Lacey.
The girls love to chit-chat about all things pop culture and so does Lacey. Since their first meeting they’ve spent hours talking, sharing their opinions, and giggling about movies, books, television shows, award shows, and YouTube videos. Often, Erica retells and even reenacts many of the fun things she sees on television for Lacey and, of course, lots more giggling occurs.
According to Lacey’s family and nurses, when a visit with Erica and Caroline is planned, she makes sure everyone knows she will be busy with her friends that day. Also, when hospital staff comes into Lacey’s room while the girls are visiting their typical reaction is, “Whoa, looks like a party is going on in here!” With so many smiles and so much giggling, undoubtedly, when the three of these girls are together it feels like a party!
Types of Friendships