Though the heat and humidity kept many Buffalo residents inside for most of the day, nine Buffalo Bills players turned the heat into a Christmas in July celebration at Women's and Children's Hospital of Buffalo on July 7.
Organized by defensive back Lydell Sargeant, players visited the Oncology floor and helped patients decorate ornaments for a Christmas in July Celebration.
There was a Christmas tree set up and holiday music played lightly in the background. The ornaments were creatively made from heavy duty fishing line, wire and buttons. Once the wire was full, the players helped the children shape the wire into a circle and tie bows on them.
"I have a favorite ornament that my grandma made me," said wide receiver David Nelson. "She made one for all her grandkids. It's a small figurine of me when I was about 6 years old. The figurine was how she viewed us. Mine has me with curly hair and holding a football. Making ornaments today with all the kids at the hospital was so much fun and really reminded me of my grandma making her ornaments by hand."
Joining Sargeant and Nelson at the event were quarterback Levi Brown, linebackers Arthur Moats and Antonio Coleman, offensive linemen Ed Wang, Sean Allen and Cordaro Howard, defensive back Dominique Harris and running back Joique Bell.
The patients and players talked about their favorite Christmas and holiday memories. They also had an air hockey tournament, and then the players broke up into three groups to visit other floors with patients that weren't able to come to the party.
"My favorite Christmas memory was getting my first-ever ed (electronic device)," said Sargeant. "At the time CDs were huge and I remember and will never forget my mom letting me buy the Alvin and the Chipmunks CD, but I had to wrap it and put it under the tree until Christmas. My anticipation was the worst just seeing it there and knowing what it was but, once I finally had the CD, I was one happy dude."
"My favorite part of Christmas was waiting for my parents to get off work and opening presents as a family when they got home," said Ed Wang.
"I remember when I was a kid I thought the lights from airplanes at night on Christmas Eve were Santa's sleigh," said Levi Brown. "Christmas is a great time of year and the Christmas in July party today really was a great time."
Sargeant and many of his teammates have been visiting the Women's and Children's Hospital the entire off-season to help take the kids and patients minds off of their illness. Even if the kids can forget for just a few moments, Sargeant says it makes all of their time and efforts at the hospital worth it.