MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Joe Mauer hosted some special kids at Target Field Friday. It was a chance for kids who deal with serious health issues to just be kids.

For 6-year-old Lyla, hanging out at Target Field is just what the doctor ordered. She and about 20 other Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare patients are enjoying time with their favorite athletes during Joe Mauer and Friends Kids Classic.

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(credit: CBS)

“There really aren’t words to describe how special this is,” one mother said.

This event allows kids to be kids, from batting with current and former Twins player to tossing the football with Vikings superstar Kyle Rudolph.

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Minnesota Wild’s Zach Parise says players from each Minnesota sports team love being a part of this event.

“It’s fun to see the kids out here smiling and having a good time and interacting with them. They do a really good job with this event. As players, we have a lot of fun with it too,” Parise said.

Joe and Maddie Mauer have been strong supporters of Gillette’s for years. Mauer hopes this event helps bring a little sunshine to the families dealing with having a child fighting a complex medical condition.

“Just to get to the day and see all the support from my teammates, from friends in other sports and volunteers, it’s really special,” Mauer said.

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Gillette will be center stage at Target Field all weekend. They’ll be hosting activities on the plaza before the games.

Reg Chapman