By Teresa Varley
For a while the beeping coming from IV machines and cries of discomfort were drowned out by laughter and joy for kids in a play room at Children's Hospital as they enjoyed Story Time, with three Steelers players on hand as guest readers.
Running backs Mewelde Moore and Gary Russell and linebacker Anthony Trucks spent time with the kids at the hospital reading and taking part in their craft activities, making masks that the kids can wear and one that Trucks took home himself.
"It's definitely fun," said Moore. "Having a nine-month old daughter its fun to be able to come out and speak with children. I love kids. It is really exciting to see their eyes light up when you read to them and talk with them. It was a great time. I had a lot of fun."
Trucks provided an animated reading of "Alien Al" and Moore captured the kid's attention while reading "Out of the World Moon Pie Adventure." While the two read, Russell interacted with the kids, but gave his teammates the thumbs up for story time.
"They are great," said Russell with a smile about the reading. "I am just here to help out and give them support. It's great to see the kids. They dream of meeting people so it's a great opportunity for us to come out and meet the kids and read them books."
The presence of the players was a pick-me up for many of the kids, some of whom don't have a lot to smile about while being cooped up in the hospital. For Gaig, a young boy from Meadville, it was just what the doctor ordered.
"When he heard about this he put down the video games and he was ready to go," said Evelyn Och from the Hospital's Child Life Department. "He was so excited about it. He has been pretty shy but to get him up and around doing this has been good to see. It really put a smile on his face."
They kids weren't the only ones smiling. The players couldn't help but be in high spirits being around the kids.
"Its fun seeing the different personalities," said Trucks. "I love giving back. To come out in the community and see the people and put a smile on a kids face is awesome.
"It's a way to give back. It's something that nobody likes to experience. But it's out there and people should give more focus to this type of things. Kids don't need much; they just need somebody to care for them. If you can give them that it will make their day a little better."