Previous Champions Award Recipients
In 2004, Boston Children's Hospital established the “Champion Award” to honor athletes from Boston's professional sports teams for their work off the field, enriching the lives of children.
2011 Award Recipient
Boston Bruins team captain Zdeno Chara
Received the 2011 Champion Award, in recognition of his commitment to making a difference in the lives of the patients at Boston Children’s Hospital.
2010 Award Recipients
Trading in pucks for presents, Boston Bruin players bring a chest of toys and loads of cheer to their annual Boston Children’s holiday visit. Just as eager to make magic at Halloween, rookies recently visited in full costume—from Mrs. Potato Head to Popeye—to the kids’ delight. Throughout the year, Patrice’s Pals, founded by Boston Bruin Patrice Bergeron, gives kids from local hospitals the VIP treatment. Children’s patients can catch the game from a luxury suite, receive a Bruins goodie bag and meet Bergeron for photos, autographs and long-lasting memories.
The Boston Celtics show their Celtic pride by giving back to their smallest fans. You can find players like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett singing holiday songs with patients at one of Boston Children’s community health centers, going room-to-room at the hospital and hoisting kids to the hoop for slam dunks at NSTAR’s Walk for Children’s Hospital Boston. Choosing Boston Children’s as a community partner, the Boston Celtics encourage their fans to support the hospital through their license plate program, which benefits Boston Children’s.
Boston Red Sox
Throughout the year, the Boston Red Sox pitch in to bring happiness to Boston Children’s patients. A surprise visit from Kevin Youkilis brightens the holidays for kids who are missing home. Quilts delivered by Terry Francona become very special keepsakes. The Beckett Bowl, an annual celebrity bowling tournament hosted by Josh Beckett, benefits Boston Children’s—and the Josh Beckett Cancer Treatment Room makes the smallest fans feel like they’re at Fenway Park. And those patients who are well enough to make a trip to the Green Monster experience game-day VIP treatment through Jason Varitek’s program, Tek 33.
New England Patriots
How do you welcome a rookie to the team? The New England Patriots begin with teaching young players the importance of giving back by visiting Boston Children’s patients. Lessons aren’t lost on the players, who as veterans continue to visit. Recently, former Patriot Joe Andruzzi stopped by with Tom Brady to brighten the day of one special patient. And throughout the year, linebacker Vince Wilfork shows his soft side with patients, but gets tough with diabetes through Tackling Diabetes with Vince, supporting diabetes research and education.
New England Revolution
Even when it’s game time, the New England Revolution think of their smallest fans, inviting Boston Children’s patients on the field for warm-ups. Through the Taylor’s Team program, patients watch the game from a luxury suite, receive a Revs goodie bag and meet Taylor Twellman. Players also bring cheer and well wishes to kids too sick to leave the hospital. Last year, the New England Revolution and Major League Soccer donated a greenhouse to Boston Children’s Yawkey Family Inn, bringing sunshine to families who’ve traveled far from home for their child’s care.
On the mound Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett strikes out some of Major League's most talented batters while racking up some impressive stats along the way! Off the mound, Beckett throws strikes of a different kind at the Beckett Bowl, his annual celebrity bowling tournament benefiting Boston Children's Hospital. Over the past three years, The Josh Beckett Foundation has raised $350,000 to help countless patients and families. His contributions enabled the Josh Beckett Cancer Treatment Room, a one-of-a-kind space where Red Sox imagery covers the walls, bringing the excitement of Fenway Park to kids that can't make it to the park. Throughout the year, Beckett also takes time out to visit patients, bringing cheer and humor to kids battling serious illness.
2009 Photo Gallery »
Matt Cassel led the Patriots offense valiantly, after being called into action after New England Patriot Tom Brady’s season-ending injury. He helped them to victory in the 2008 season opener and in his first starting game against the New York Jets. It was the first time a quarterback making his first NFL start beat a team led by Brett Favre. Off the field, Cassel takes time for his younger fans at Boston Children's Hospital by visiting them in their rooms and participating in the hospital’s “Mid-Week Morning Show.” His wife, Lauren, visits as well. Inspired by Boston Children’s good work, she recently signed up to become a hospital volunteer.
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Vince Wilfork takes down some of the New England Patriots’ biggest foes on the field. During his career, he’s recorded almost 350 tackles (close to 200 solo), more than five sacks and five fumble recoveries. But the biggest enemy he’s taking on is diabetes. Wilfork teamed up with Rite Aid to raise $50,000 for Boston Children's Hospital’s Diabetes Program. Tackling Diabetes with Vince helps support diabetes research and empower kids to control their diabetes so they can do the same thing Wilfork does: play hard. Wilfork takes time out to visit Boston Children’s patients with his wife, Bianca. Together, they dole out hugs and good cheer, momentarily turning one of the Patriots toughest linemen into a teddy bear.
Being among “Patrice’s Pals” makes the hospital experience a little less daunting—and that’s exactly Patrice Bergeron’s goal. Founded by Boston Bruin Patrice Bergeron, the program allows children from local hospitals and other organizations to experience Bruins games as Bergeron’s very own VIP guests. Kids catch the action from a luxury suite, receive a goodie bag with Bruins memorabilia, and meet Bergeron for pictures and autographs after the game. For kids who can’t easily get to the Garden, Bergeron makes special visits to Boston Children's Hospital.
Celtics forward Paul Pierce is a true friend to the community. In 2002, he founded The Truth Fund, which provides educational and life-enriching opportunities for disadvantaged youth in Boston and his hometown of Inglewood, California.
In 2001, NFL lineman Matt Light founded the Light Foundation, a non-profit organization that strives to ensure kids have an opportunity to grow physically, spiritually and mentally by providing positive opportunities to learn and grow. His generosity has made great things possible in Ohio, his home state, and locally in New England. The Foundation has built the Light Foundation Baseball Field in Ohio and created the Light Foundation Scholarship Fund for needy students.
In 1998, Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield created Wakefield Warriors, enabling Franciscan Hospital for Children patients to watch batting practice and visit with Wakefield before Tuesday home games. Patients leave with t-shirts, gifts, autographs and an experience of a lifetime. Wakefield also gives back to his hometown of Melbourne, Florida, raising money and awareness for the Space Coast Early Intervention Center, a non-profit pre-school and therapeutic center that offers care for special needs children. Each year, Wakefield hosts the Tim Wakefield Celebrity Golf Classic with proceeds benefiting the center.
JoJo White spent 10 years with the Celtics, establishing 488-consecutive-game playing streak. But since his playing days, White’s proved to be as valuable off court as he was on. White serves as the Celtics’ Director of Special Projects and Community Relations Representative, shaping the franchise’s important community service work.
In 2002, NFL lineman Joe Andruzzi met C.J. Buckley, who was treated for brain cancer at Boston Children’s and given three months to live. Andruzzi learned about C.J. through a family friend, and invited him to attend training camp. The friendship blossomed, and Joe and his wife Jennifer made regular visits to C.J.’s home. C.J. passed away at age 17, living 13 months longer than doctors predicted. His family is convinced the friendship with the Andruzzis helped extend their son’s life. The Andruzzis started the C.J. Buckley Endowment in December 2003 to benefit Boston Children's Hospital’s brain cancer research and host an event each year to benefit the fund.
Jason and Karen Varitek established Tek’s 33s, providing 20 tickets to five Red Sox home games for Boston Children’s patients and their families. In addition to a game ticket, the catcher gives each child a t-shirt, invites the kids on field to watch batting practice, and spends time talking with the young fans, taking photos and signing autographs. The Variteks also visit Boston Children’s throughout the season, spending time on many inpatient floors.