Trojan Hoops Brings Christmas Spirit to CHLA

    Brendyn Taylor, Roschon Prince, Chass Bryan, and Coach Tony Bland (from left) visit a young Trojan fan.

    Dec. 20, 2013

    Grace waited at the front doors of Children's Hospital Los Angeles for the team to arrive. She had been waiting all morning, excited for a change of pace from her day filled with injections, tests, and treatments. After being diagnosed with leukemia 6 months ago, Grace has battled at CHLA with the heart of a Trojan.

    When the van full of men's basketball players arrived, Grace rolled up to them in her wheel chair and welcomed each athlete with a handshake. Passing around Sharpies and stick-on visitor's badges, she laughed, "I need everyone's autograph."

    Friday marked a special day for USC Basketball, as their holiday toy drive, which collected more than 200 toys from generous fans, came to a close. The team delivered hundreds of presents for children throughout the hospital and made time to visit several patients.

    The first stop was at a dialysis unit, where children spend hours each week connected to machines. The athletes brightened this lull in their day by signing posters, telling jokes, and talking about Christmas plans. Afterwards, they headed to a community room for long-term patients, where the team played basketball on toy hoops with the kids.

    The day was a success for both the hospital and the team, who boarded a plane to Ohio after their visit and made their newest fans proud with a win over Dayton. All toy donations from fans were distributed throughout the hospital by Christmas Eve, providing a little Trojan Spirit just in time for the holiday.