Holiday Spirit Starts Early for CSUDH Toros at Harbor/UCLA Hospital

TORRANCE, Calif. – Four of Cal State Dominguez Hills' 10 teams were represented over a two-day stretch last Thursday and Friday as Toro student-athletes brought cheer and good will, not to mention presents, to patients at Harbor/UCLA Hospital to close out the week before finals.  Led by Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) President and baseball outfielder Danny Haley, 11 student-athletes in all paid a visit, and left the patients with souvenirs and lasting memories.

Thursday saw softball make its way to the hospital, with SAAC Treasurer Lauren Harper and Veronica Vazquez spending time in the downstairs activity center, where they collaborated with a pair of patients in decorating holiday cards and designs, and left a few softball shirts as souvenirs.

The next day, volleyball's Hannah Oros and men's basketball's Matt Cain and Ryan Jefferson went to the hospital in the morning, and played board games with an 11-year old girl and talked to a 19-year old patient in the patient lounge, respectively, while leaving an autographed volleyball and basketball, and autographed volleyball picture and t-shirts.

Friday's afternoon session saw six members from the baseball team visit Harbor/UCLA as Haley, Chris Allen, Sean Wardour, Matt Montgomery and two newcomers took turns playing Connect 4, Mancala and Candyland, and spent time with a 6-year old as she played a game on the computer.  Haley took it a step further by accompanying the 1st-grader to her scheduled chemotherapy session, before leaving as she fell asleep.

"Anytime we get to get out and represent our University is a great opportunity," said Haley.  "It is not only important as student-athletes to be well rounded in the classroom with our academics and on the field with our athletics, but equally to give back to the community we are part of.

"Just getting to spend the day with these kids and hear their stories is so humbling and makes you truly appreciate everything that you have as well as realize how blessed we are," he continues.  "And making them laugh and smile while playing games and just spending time with them is so fulfilling in and of itself."