No matter who wins the Super Bowl, Basket of Hope will be dancing in the end zone: The big game presented an opportunity for the St. Louis charity to help thousands of hospitalized children across the country.
Basket of Hope joined with Riley Children’s Hospital in Super Bowl host city Indianapolis and former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy to create “Super Baskets of Hope,” the official charity of the NFL and Super Bowl XLVI Host Committee. Super Baskets of Hope will deliver gift-filled baskets to 7,000 hospitalized children in each of the country’s 31 NFL cities. The nationwide effort kicked off today in the charity’s home city of St. Louis.
“We are so excited to be part of this opportunity to expand our program to all of the NFL cities during the weeks surrounding the Super Bowl,” said Angela Brunette, founder and national executive director of Basket of Hope. “We have seen firsthand here at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center the impact the personal visits, baskets and hope totes have made on the seriously ill children and their families. We enjoy working with Josh Brown and the St. Louis Rams delivering the baskets here to the kids and families at SSM Cardinal Glennon.”
A special segment about Super Baskets of Hope will be featured on the Super Bowl pregame show at 12:23 p.m. on Sunday.
Basket of Hope was created in 1995, after Brunette’s 6-year-old daughter Christina was diagnosed with cancer and an inoperable tumor on her spine. Christina was treated at SSM Cardinal Glennon and is now a happy and healthy adult, but the family was so moved by the support of friends and family that they wanted to create a support network for other families. Each year, the family delivers hundreds of baskets filled with toys and books to children and tote bags filled with Bibles, journals and inspirational books to parents.
The St. Louis Rams have been actively involved with Basket of Hope for many years, taking time out to deliver baskets and visit with patients at SSM Cardinal Glennon and other hospitals in the St. Louis area.
“As a professional athlete, I appreciate the tremendous opportunity I have to assist Basket of Hope in their mission of delivering hope to kids and families battling cancer or other serious illnesses,” said Josh Brown, kicker for the St. Louis Rams and chairman of Basket of Hope. “Their selection as the official Super Bowl charity provides a global platform to share Angela’s amazing story of compassion and vision. We hope that this opportunity will translate to others joining us to bring hope where little may have previously existed.”
Basket of Hope and Super Baskets of Hope are able to purchase toys and gift through donations from the community. Patients who receive the baskets are excited about the toys inside, but for many, knowing someone cared enough to put them there is the real gift. In fact, SSM Cardinal Glennon patient Christopher Armstrong was so inspired by Basket of Hope that he penned a devotional for the organization, which is featured in the journal given to parents through Super Baskets of Hope.
“Being in the hospital can be a scary time,” Armstrong said. “Doctors and nurses do their best to make it fun, but you know you’re missing out on things back at home with your friends and family while you’re in the hospital. To see a group of people take time out of their day to come visit you and bring you presents helps you remember that you’re part of a bigger community, and there are a lot of people out there cheering you on.”