Sunday, December 17, 2000

Bengals take time for kids at Children's

By Lew Moores
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Tom Markley had come to Children's Hospital simply to bring his daughter, Rachel, 9, home. But when he got her wheelchair to the lobby of the hospital, they were blocked by a line of Cincinnati Bengals.

        First, Bengals linebacker Takeo Spikes talked to her. Then Mr. Markley was asked if he minded whether the other guys said hello as well.

[photo] Cincinnati Bengals Adrian Ross (from left), Armegis Spearman, JoJuan Armour and Takeo Spikes talk with Rachel Markley, 9, at Children's Hospital on Saturday.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        “Not at all,” said Mr. Markley, who beamed as running back Corey Dillon and linebackers Adrian Ross, JoJuan Armour and Armegis Spearman crowded around the little girl in the wheelchair.

        At Mr. Spikes' suggestion, a handful of Bengals players visited Children's Hospital on Saturday to pass along holiday greetings to the young patients, hand out gifts and sign autographs.

        “We're thrilled just to be getting out of here after three weeks and then this happens,” said Mr. Markley, who lives in Springfield, Ohio, standing off to the side as the Bengals spoke with his daughter. Rachel was at Children's for a spinal procedure.

        “I've been a Bengals fan since 1968,” said Mr. Markley. “We just happened to be coming down and then this. This is really cool.”

        The hospital trip as organized by Eric Griffin of Sims Sports Management of Oakland, Calif., and Los Angeles.

        “Takeo wanted to give back to the community,” said Mr. Griffin, whose company represents the Bengals who made the trip. “This is to show that these guys do care. We wanted them to come down and spend some time with the kids, ask how they're feeling.”

        The players visited the Ronald McDonald House as well, accompanied by Ben-Gals cheerleaders.

        “We wanted to just come in and make a difference in a kid's life,” said Mr. Spikes. “Spend a little time to make a kid smile. How often does this happen, to get a visit like this, especially from an NFL player?”


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