An evening that began with baking cookies ended with friendships formed, lives changed and a treat even sweeter than the sugar cookies everyone was there to enjoy.
Pittsburgh Steeler Arthur Moats and his family baked cookies with children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Arthur Moats and his wife Shonda wanted to do something special for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Pittsburgh, families from all across the world who have a child undergoing long term care at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and stay at the Ronald McDonald House during the duration of the child's hospital stay.
They wanted to do something to bring some fun to their day, something to get their mind off daily fears and concerns over their child, even for a few minutes.
And when you think about it, making cookies, or more importantly eating cookies, is something that definitely brings smiles.
"Any time we are able to come out and see some families and just brighten their day a little bit, it's always an amazing feeling," said Moats, who also brought his three kids Kaylor, Ava and Grey. "That is the biggest reason. Plus I could bring my family and we could bond with some yummy cookies."
Sugar cookies were plentiful, and decorating them was a huge hit with the families, from icing, to sprinkles, stars and hearts, everything went on the cookies.
"It's absolutely incredible that the Steelers take the time to come do these things with the kids, and especially for the families," said Jamie Blundon, who was there with her son Parker, while her other son Grant is in the hospital. "Parker loves having them here. All the activities here have been incredible. It's nice for him to be able to get his mind off of everything else here that is going on and have something fun for him to focus on."
Moats spent time visiting with the families, taking their questions, and even teaching a little football to one family that has never watched a game. He met people from just a few states away, to as far as Spain and Japan. And he understands how hard it is for each family dealing with their scenario of a sick child.
"Anybody can be in this situation," said Moats. "For us it's about being here to be a support system. If you can brighten their day just a little bit to help through a situation they are going through, that is the main objective. Just seeing everyone with the smile on their face makes me realize we are doing everything right."
There was no question Moats did everything right, all the way to the point where he capped the night by making a donation to the Ronald McDonald House to purchase viewfinders for their rooftop deck, giving the families an opportunity to take in the sweeping views of the city.
"It was an evening of fun to for our families after a long day at the hospital," said Eleanor Reigel, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House. "Having him come to the house is a great pleasure. We understand it's mid-season, he is a very busy gentleman, but he really wants to give back quality time to the community. The families are thankful he is doing this."