Robin Ventura has been a regular visitor to the children’s hospital over the years.
That much was evident Thursday as the White Sox manager made the rounds at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
In between talking to patients, several longtime doctors made their way over to exchange pleasantries with Ventura, who is in town for SoxFest this weekend.
Ventura offered his brand new White Sox hat to one doctor and spoke to many others throughout the hour-long visit. He also advised pitcher John Danks, who visited alongside his wife, country singer Ashley Monroe, that he needed to autograph his jersey and leave it for a patient. Having experienced the visit repeatedly over the years, first as a player and now as manager, Ventura said he enjoys the perspective each trip provides.
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“It’s incredible to come in here,” Ventura said. “It seems so little for us to come in here and do this, but it means a lot for them. If you can interrupt their day for 20 minutes, it’s worth it.”
This wasn’t Danks’ first visit, either.
“As bad as we think a bad night is, it’s nothing compared to what these kids are going through,” Danks said. “It’s a good reminder.”
As the group made its way from room to room, Monroe sang songs to another patient. And the team’s mascot, Southpaw, played games with a handful of children.
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Ventura said he began his involvement with Lurie Hospital during his playing career at the behest of a friend who was an intern at the time.
“It’s always meaningful,” Ventura said. “Every time you come in here you’re meeting people that are struggling in the worst possible way.
“They’re fighting for their lives and you have to understand that. You’re trying to get them to put a smile on their face and not think about that for a little bit. But it hits home real quick.”