Earlier this month, the Seton Hall men's basketball team took time away from its busy class, practice and game schedule to visit patients at Saint Barnabas Medical Center (SMBC) in Livingston, N.J.
The players and coaches paid a special visit to the SMBC Pediatric Unit to meet and spend time with young patients. The Pirates posed for pictures, signed autographs and handed out small gifts to the children in the hopes of brightening their days.
"When you see what some of these kids are battling, our minor inconveniences seem pretty petty," said junior Aaron Geramipoor (Manchester, England). "If by simply paying a visit we can bring a smile or two to their faces, it's absolutely worth the trip."
Among those student-athletes particularly interested in visiting Saint Barnabas was freshman Kevin Johnson (Compton, Calif.). The 6-foot-9 center took a moment to visit a pair of adult patients in the hospital's Renal and Transplant Unit.
A type-2 diabetic, Johnson was eager to interact with those battling the same disease.
"It was nice to chat with individuals who understand the daily demands of living with diabetes," Johnson said. "It's a tough disease, which requires close monitoring. Being able to talk to these patients, knowing that they understand what I've been though, is helpful for me. I hope that by seeing me on the court, I can provide some motivation for them too."
No strangers to charitable service and spreading good will, the men's basketball team embraces their frequent trips into the surrounding communities, and in particular, Saint Barnabas. The reputable medical center reciprocates the appreciation.
"It was great to have the Pirates visit Saint Barnabas Medical Center, said Arnie Manzo, Vice President for Human Resources. "Our young patients always enjoy seeing the Seton Hall athletes. The character of this team under Coach Willard is special, and we appreciate them giving back to the community."