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Dec. 28, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Dec. 28, 2010 - The morning after a big win at Indiana to open the Big Ten season, Nittany Lion basketball coach Ed DeChellis and Penn State's five senior players loaded up bags of hats, shirts, balls and posters and headed to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to spread some holiday cheer.
Senior players Talor Battle, Jeff Brooks, David Jackson, Andrew Jones and Steve Kirkpatrick joined DeChellis, Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer committee chairman Steve Greer and the Nittany Lion in making several stops in a five-hour visit to the complex located about two hours from State College.
"I think our guys really enjoyed and learned something from the experience and I hope we were able to lift some spirits, if even for a little while, of a lot of people who are going through some very tough times," said DeChellis, a cancer survivor himself. "We, as a program, feel it is just very important to be a part of the community and the Hershey Medical Center and their staff were great about welcoming us in and allowing us to be, hopefully, a bright spot during the holidays for some of their patients."
The team began its day at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge, which offers housing just across the street from the Medical Center for cancer patients undergoing treatment and their caregivers. The group next had lunch with Dr. Thomas P. Loughran, the director of the Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, who provided insight into the amazing medical advancements being made in the treatment of cancer in Hershey and also on the Penn State University campus in State College.
The group then got the opportunity to meet and greet numerous cancer patients in the Institute's brand new infusion area. Coach DeChellis and the players brought smiles to many faces as they handed out gifts, signed autographs and posed for pictures with patients and their caregivers as they received their chemotherapy treatments in the state-of-the art facility. The group then spent nearly two hours in the Hershey Children's Hospital handing out gifts and participating in a scrapbooking activity with pediatric patients.
"We had a great day," said All-Big Ten guard Battle. "It was just so nice to be able to bring a smile to people's faces and see that they really appreciated us being there and showing we cared about them and what they are going through. Their struggles and the challenges they face every day really make our problems seem small."
"I just enjoyed talking to the people and playing with the little kids," said Brooks. "There are a lot of Penn State fans down there and hopefully we made them smile and forget about their problems for a little while. We won't forget about them and what they're going through."
The Nittany Lions (8-4; 1-0 Big Ten) return to the basketball floor on Jan. 2 when they take on Michigan in a 4:00 p.m. (ET) tip in Ann Arbor. The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network and heard on the Penn State Sports Network.
For all the latest information, notes, pictures and related links on Penn State basketball follow Assistant Athletic Communications Director Brian Siegrist on Twitter (@PSUSTRETCH) and check GoPSUsports.com. The Nittany Lions are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pennstatebasketball.