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Washington Nationals host holiday party for kids at Medstar Georgetown

11:38 AM, Dec 11, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- While winter weather raged outside, the Washington Nationals brought holiday cheer to children at the Medstar Georgetown University Hospital on Tuesday.

The kids took a break from treatment to spend the morning with Nats players at a Winter Wonderland party. Outfielder Denard Span, pitcher Ross Detwiler and their mascot Screech visited chidlren with cancer and other illnesses at the hospital.

Together, the athletes and kids built a giant gingerbread baseball stadium. They also decorated ornaments and took pictures that they'll use to make snow globes. 

When they weren't busy with crafts, the children teamed up to have fun with Screech, pulling the chair out from under the giant mascot as he tried to sit at the small plastic table. 

The Nats partnered with the Hope for Henry Foundation to put on the event. Laurie Strongin, founder of Hope for Henry, said the holiday party brought laughter to children who are usually busy fighting a serious battle. 

"Kids with cancer and life-threatening illnesses spend a tremendous amount of time in the hospital," Strongin said. "They're not here for a couple hours or a couple days, but they're here for weeks and months and years." 

She said Hope for Henry helps bring "normalcy to their lives, and fun, laughter and entertainment, to make sure they're having fun while they get better." 

The party marked the second day of the Nationals' Week of Giving

Kids who were too sick to join the party got a one-on-one visit with the athletes. Everyone received signed baseballs and Nats-themed presents. 

And the best gift of the day? According to Strongin: "Smiles and more smiles." 

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