Harlem Globetrotter Brings Joy to Young Patients

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Hot Shot Branch with Williams FamilyMADISON – With a basketball spinning on his finger, Harlem Globetrotter “Hot Shot” Branch delighted young patients at the American Family Children’s Hospital during a recent visit.


As he signed autographs and posed for pictures, Branch – all six feet four of him – towered over the young fans, especially 9-month-old Kaden Williams of Winnebago, Ill.


“Kaden loves to get out and see different people,” said Kaden’s mother, Kathryn. “The visits are really enjoyable for him.” Kaden, like many other kids, smiled and laughed throughout Branch’s presentation.


Branch’s visit to the children’s hospital came during a break in his demanding 10-month  touring schedule with the team.


“We just got back two days ago from a tour of military bases,” he said, referring to the Globetrotters’ seven-country tour of U.S. military bases. "We get to show our appreciation to the troops and bring a little Christmas spirit."


That spirit of goodwill is also what Branch hoped to bring to the young patients with whom he was visiting.


"I hope to share a little joy and surprise them," he said, adding, "and make them feel a little better."


It certainly helped Joey Baumunk from Mauston, Wis., who was recovering from a second surgery.


"It’s so sweet he [Branch] gives his time like this," said Joey’s mother, Linde. "Joey has been looking forward to it. Now he can go back to school with something no one else has done."


Joey will also go back with a personally signed photo of Branch, something he knows his friends will envy.


Also known as "The Ambassadors of Goodwill," the Harlem Globetrotters are dedicated to bringing peace and goodwill to fans throughout the world. As Branch explained, "The Globetrotters are about more than basketball. We do a lot of community service."


Branch’s visit to American Family Children’s Hospital was part of the Child Life program, which helps young patients minimize fears and anxieties and maintain a sense of normality during their stay. For more information about American Family Children’s Hospital and the Child Life program, visit www.uwhealthkids.org.


Date published: 12/14/2007

Date Published: 02/20/2008

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