PORTLAND, Ore. – Five members of the first-place Portland Timbers visited with children and families at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital today to present over 200 stuffed animals donated by fans at the team’s recent Teddy Bear Toss event held at PGE Park earlier this month.
“I’ve been a part of visits to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital over the years,” said Timbers midfielder Tom Poltl. “I was a part of last season’s Teddy Bear Toss and it’s always a great feeling to give stuffed animals to these kids in tough situations and have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day.”
Poltl, who was the Timbers 2006 Community Player of the Year, was joined by midfielders Kiki Lara and Neil Dombrowski and defenders Kevin Meissner and Garrett Marcum.
“Kevin and I hung out with 21 kids and their families in the Oncology section of the hospital and ran into some families who were season ticket holders and big fans,” said Poltl. “We just hope the kids and families had as much fun today as we did getting to visit with them.”
For some of the players it was their first visit to the children’s hospital.
“This was the first time I’ve ever been a part of something like this,” said Lara. “In Minnesota, we did appearances, but this has to be the most rewarding experience I’ve had since I’ve been a professional soccer player.
“It’s great to be a part of an event that links fans into the team’s community outreach. It’s nice to know that we can be such a positive influence in the community and get to talk about the Portland Timbers,” added Lara.
The Timbers gathered more than 200 stuffed animals from fans when they took on the California Victory on July 15 at PGE Park. After defender Cameron Knowles scored Portland’s first goal of the match, fans threw stuffed animals from the stands on to the field to be donated to the patients and families at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. Since 2006, the Teddy Bear Toss has collected more than 500 stuffed animals which have been donated to Doernbecher.
The Teddy Bear Toss is one of several community events and activities the Timbers have been a part of this season. In May, with new team owner Merritt Paulson, the Timbers donated 20 new Nike soccer balls to Boise-Elliot Elementary School in Portland, and have made several trips to schools to read books to children. The Timbers annually participate in over 50 community events.