University of Wisconsin Football Players, Bucky Deliver to Children's Hospital

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MADISON - State icon Bucky Badger and five University of Wisconsin football players brightened the afternoons of American Family Children's Hospital patients by dropping off presents Thursday.
Badgers Sam Spitz, Dave Peck, Tyler Westphal, Matt Fischer and Brad Northam accompanied Bucky and popped into rooms on the hospital's fourth and fifth floors bearing stuffed animals, toys, CDs and DVDs. Some of the kids were shy and quiet, others boisterously proclaimed their enthusiasm and voiced their support of the team in this weekend's showdown with the Ohio State Buckeyes.
And more than a few of the patients' parents asked for autographs (and tried to convince the players they were for their children).
The presents were purchased with funds raised at this year's Greater Bucky Open, an annual charity golf tournament whose proceeds go to American Family Children's Hospital. This year's tournament raised close to $20,000, and tournament organizer Derek Hildebrandt, a UW alum who donned the Bucky costume during his college days, says more than $100,000 has been raised for charity in the GBO's 12 years.
"I was a former mascot and wanted to give something back," says Hildebrandt, who graduated in 1993 and whose sisters Tiffany Wilke and Valerie Wulf were on hand to help with the gift distribution. "It's a natural. I wanted to help kids, and every kid loves Bucky."
Bucky with Greater Bucky Open organizers Badgers and Child Life staff at American Family Children's Hospital

Bucky with tournament organizer Derek Hildebrandt and sisters Valerie and Tiffany.

Child Life staff help the Badgers sort the toys prior to delivery to the kids.

Wisconsin Badgers at American Family Children's Hospital Bucky Badger

The Badgers gather their energies before visiting the children.

Here's looking at you, Bucky.

Wisconsin Badgers at American Family Children's Hospital Bucky Badger at American Family Children's Hospital

Loaded up and ready to go.

Bucky kicks back in the American Family Children's Hospital lobby.

Badgers with Children's Hospital patients Badgers with Children's Hospital patient

Children's Hospital patient Jerrod is a big Badger fan.

Even the expanded patient rooms at the new hospital get a little crowded with three Badgers.

Badger players with a Children's Hospital patient Wisconsin Badgers with American Family Children's Hospital VP Jeff Poltawsky

A Children's Hospital patient awakens to be greeted by three Badgers bearing gifts.

Children's Hospital Vice President Jeff Poltawsky says hello to the Badgers.

Date Published: 10/03/2008

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