MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has made a name for himself by making big plays on the field.
Off the field, he’s making a big impact with families who find themselves in the Twin Cities for medical treatment.
His “Lead the Way Foundation” focuses on helping support chronically-ill children and their families.
This week, he did just that by spreading smiles at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in St. Paul.
Greenway and his wife Jennifer donated their fifth “Chad’s Locker” to the Ronald McDonald Family Room.
The special wing looks like a house, complete with bedrooms, a kitchen and living room. It gives families who are at the hospital a place to rest and spend time between appointments.
Andria Rodgers’ son Caiden has cerebral palsy. The family came to St. Paul for a special spinal cord surgery that will help his legs. Two weeks after his surgery, Caidan said he’s feeling better, but he’s starting to miss home.
“Everyone’s been so nice, from the doctors to the housekeepers at the Ronald McDonald House,” Rodgers said. “We come through the door for meals, we’ve saved so much money from this place, it’s been incredible. My kids love them here.”
The Greenways unveiled the locker on Wednesday, which is packed with iPads, laptops, gaming systems and cell phones. The technology is there for patients and their families to use when they need them.
Helping kids has always been important for the Greenways, but it wasn’t until they had their own children that it hit home.
“We were a little short sighted to think it was just the one kid affected by this at first. We were able to see quickly see and learn it’s the whole family,” Greenway said. “Disease, sickness, illness, it effects everybody in the family. It’s tough and we just want to make it easier.”
The lockers are relatively small, but have a wide-reaching impact. Greenway said each year, the lockers help 50,000 – 60,000 people take a small escape from the hospital, until they’re ready to go home.
“What makes it special for us is to see the faces when we get to open up the locker and reveal what’s in there,” Greenway said.
The games and apps in Chad’s Locker are updated quarterly. And because of the heavy use, laptops and iPads are replaced every three years.
This was the fifth locker donated in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.