The lead-up to Tuesday's international friendly (7:30pm PT, webstream at PortlandTimbers.com, 750 AM The Game / La Pantera 940) got even friendlier with the help of the Portland Timbers, Aston Villa FC and the Children’s Cancer Association Monday afternoon.
Timbers players David Horst and Eric Alexander joined Aston Villa players Stephen Ireland, Daniel Johnson and Samir Carruthers at Randall Children’s Hospital to visit with kids through the Children’s Cancer Association and participate in a special music activity through MusicRX.
WATCH: Timbers & AVFC players visit hospital
The Children’s Cancer Association, started in 1994, provides services to children 18 and under suffering from cancer. Programs and services provided include use of a retreat cabin, a Chemo Pal mentor program, resources for financial and emotional support and assistance, and MusicRx.
MusicRx focuses on the healing powers of music, using scientifically proven methods of music therapy to soothe and engage hospitalized children. The MusicRx program boasts a custom cart that features over 100 instruments, stereo speakers, a 30-inch LCD screen for music videos and an iPod “lending library.”
“We’re just thrilled to bring that sense of happiness and distract from the isolation, the fear or anxiety they might be feeling while they’re waiting for tests, or in the process of recovery,” said Children’s Cancer Association COO Meg Byrtek. “It’s a little bit of distraction, it’s a little bit of happiness in the midst of the journey and is a really important part of what the Children’s Cancer Association is all about.”
“It’s delightful to have the Timbers come and join us, and bringing joy to the children, bringing comfort to the children, and really just supporting them through a difficult time as they battle serious and life threatening illnesses,” she continued.
Launched in 1995, MusicRx operates in six hospitals in the Portland area, as well as Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, California and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA in Los Angeles.
The event held a special meaning for Aston Villa – teammate and club captain Stiliyan (Stan) Petrov was diagnosed with acute leukemia in March. In fact, supporters are encouraged to applaud in the 19th minute of Aston Villa games in honor of Petrov and his #19 shirt.
Visiting children's hospitals is “a regular thing we do at home in our club," said Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland. "It’s something all the guys look forward to doing and they take it really serious, because it’s important and it’s close to the players’ hearts."
Timbers defender David Horst also enjoyed visiting Randall Children’s Hospital. “To be able to come out and make a kid happy, make him smile, make him feel better, it’s very fulfilling," he said.
"It feels like you’ve done something with your day. We do have practice every day, but soccer pales in comparison to doing this. It’s a great opportunity to help these kids, and I feel like we did that today.”
To learn more or donate to the Children's Cancer Association please visit their website at: http://www.joyrx.org/programs/music-rx/.