WASHINGTON, Dec. 14, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- First Lady Michelle Obama visited patients and families today at Children's National Health System, accompanied by family dogs, Bo and Sunny.
Mrs. Obama began her visit by cheering up children and their families in the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. Many of these children are in the hospital for extended periods as they are treated for cancer and blood diseases such as sickle cell disease or have recently received bone marrow transplants.
"It's such a delight to our patients and their families, particularly those who aren't able to celebrate the holidays at home, to have Mrs. Obama visit them and spread holiday cheer," said David Wessel, MD, Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer for Hospital and Specialty Services.
Following her tour, Mrs. Obama arrived in the hospital's Main Atrium, escorted by two patients, Stephen Orzechowski, 5, and Luna Fera, 11. She greeted patients, families, and staff from throughout the hospital and then, as part of her annual tradition, read the classic 'Twas the Night before Christmas to the audience. The children asked the First Lady questions about how her family spends the holidays. Instructors and students from Just Rock Enterprises, the Amours vocal group, and Reggie Rice–the "Super Magic Man"–treated children and families to a holiday concert complete with interactive songs and games.
"We're pleased to host the First Lady's visit this year and grateful that she chose to celebrate the holidays with our patients and their families," says Kurt Newman, MD, President and CEO of Children's National. "As an advocate for children's health and well-being, we appreciate Mrs. Obama's commitment. Her visit lifted the spirits of our patients, families, and staff."
For more than 130 years, the First Ladies of the United States have shared the Children's National belief that every child should have the best possible chance to thrive. They have made special visits to Children's National and have attended events to demonstrate their commitment to serving the nation's children. First Lady visits during the holiday season can be documented as far back as Bess Truman.
The hospital is located less than four miles from the White House and is one of only five pediatric hospitals in the United States this year to achieve these three nationally recognized honors: U.S. News & World Report Best Children's Hospitals Honor Roll, Magnet® designation, and the Leapfrog Group's Top Hospital List.
The comprehensive cancer and blood disorders program at Children's National diagnoses and cares for more children each year than all other metro area hospitals combined. This high volume translates into a level of experience and expertise in both common and rare cancer types. Children's National is home to some of the world's leading pediatric cancer experts and is also the only program in the region with specialized programs for different types of cancer.
SOURCE Children's National Health System