KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A virtual Patrick Mahomes elicited cheers when introduce to young patients and their families at Children's Mercy Hospital Thursday evening, but when the real-life Mahomes stepped into Barth Chapel on the hospital campus, that's all it took to put smiles on dozens of kids of all ages affected by chronic illness.
“I know how hard these kids work every single day,” Mahomes said during his surprise visit to the hospital. “That's the biggest thing to me is they work a thousand times harder than I do. So for me to do whatever I can to just put a smile on their face or give them the extra motivation to keep working, I'm going to try to do that.”
The appearance by the reigning NFL MVP heralded a donation of equipment to the hospital's rehab gym to assist young patients in their recovery. Mahomes' virtual arrival came via a new telepresence robot featuring an iPad on a mobile platform, but it didn't exactly go as planned.
“I wish I could have drove the robot better and handled the technology better, but at the same time it was really cool to be able to surprise them and make the appearance here in person,” Mahomes said.
In addition to the telepresence robots, the donation includes fully loaded PlayStation 4 video game consoles, iPads, a Vecta sensory room distraction station and MamaRoo swings. The goal is to encourage young patients to actively participate in their physical therapy sessions as a means toward improving their overall health and mental wellness.
“You want them to have the opportunities and the fun that they need in order to live a great life,” Mahomes said. “I know when I get home I play a lot of video games and do other stuff, so they have those resources now where they can do the same thing.”
The gifts to the hospital resulted from the partnership between the quarterback's 15 and the Mahomies Foundation and the Asterisk Collective, a joint platform built by Foot Locker and Adidas aimed at making positive impacts in communities around the world. Mahomes wore a special edition of the Adidas Ultraboost sneaker creative exclusively for the Asterisk Collective. The quarterback thought the hospital served as a perfect recipient for the donation.
“They do so many great things for these kids, especially around this area,” Mahomes said. “To be able to give back through Adidas and Foot Locker and the Asterisk Collective is something we have been talking about for a while and glad to see it finally come to fruition.”
Since its official launch last month, the 15 and the Mahomies Foundation has supported an array of causes in the Kansas City area and the surrounding the region. It's the culmination of a goal Mahomes set for himself upon entering the NFL as a rookie to find a way to make a positive impact in the lives of young people in the community.
“I've wanted to do it the entire time I've been in the NFL, but I had to get the right things in order and do it right way,” Mahomes said. “Having great partners around me has helped me kind of really boost it and get it going at very fast rate, and so I'm glad that I can go out and do things like this in the community more often.”
Mahomes said he draws inspiration from the young people he has met at Children's Mercy – and he wants to inspire his new friends in return.
“I want to make sure that they know that the things that they do, they're worth it, that they're worth my time, they're worth their time and do whatever I can to show them that we're supporting them just as much as they support us,” Mahomes explained.