It was open house at Mercy Kids, the pediatric wing of Springfield's Mercy hospital, and inside the lobby the Missouri St. athletic program was out in full force to greet visitors…Members of the football team were helping youngsters hoop dreams come true, the field hockey team was helping color pictures of Boomer, the girls soccer team was doing carpentry work in the Home Depot work area and the volleyball team was putting on a show in the hallway and serving as nurses for young doctors working on stuffed patients,
"We're not just about on the court but also in the classroom and supporting kids," explained Brianna Dixon, an MSU volleyball player from Kickapoo. "We like helping give them love and support."
"These kids look up to you and see something they strive to be," added fellow volleyball players Caroline Finnell. "And that's something cool to see."
"There are things bigger than yourself and that's what I've seen today," said MSU football player Skyler Hulse. "It's great to just be able to come out and brighten somebody's day. And they don't know how much they brighten my day too."
"We try our hardest to put a foot in the door and volunteer for anything really," said Marquis Prophete, another Bear football player. "I came up here a couple of times for the Ronald McDonald House. It's more than just being a student athlete. We are like representatives of the school."
And this is just one of many outreach programs the Bears are involved in.
"We volunteered at this chuch," volleyball player Mikaela Mosquera remembers, "where they have a store that helps poor people around the world."
"We're going to go to Reed Academy which is a Springfield public school," added Finnell, "and be the buddy for a day for special education kids."
"Help 'em with reading or math or just eat with them at lunch or teach them some things about our sport," said Dixon.
This appearance is at a facility that affects the community in a major way. Affiliated with St. Jude's, Mercy Kids offers treatment for cancer and other life threatening illinesses like the one affecting five
year-old Kane Lamberson.
" He has a rare blood disorder where he needs transfusions every five or six weeks to sustain life," Kane's mom Liz explained. "You never want to see your baby go through anything like that. Having St. Jude's here has been a tremendous help for our family and makes them feel more comfortable."
And the Bear family is trying to do its part as well.