Dallas Cowboys players fanned out to four different children’s hospitals in North Texas Monday morning, to help bring Christmas cheer to the littlest of patients.
One of those was Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, where rookies Leighton Vander Esch and Micahel Gallup, along with a bevy of teammates, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders and mascot Rowdy, signed autographs, posed for pictures and visited with young patients with varying degrees of illness.
“It puts a smile on our face to get out here and being able to hang out with them and put a smile on theirs,” said Vander Esch, who was taking part in the annual visit for the first time. “Seeing the joy it brings them to see us, it’s pretty awesome.”
The good feelings go both directions, Gallup said. The Cowboys (7-5) host the Eagles (5-6) at 3:25 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
“You see these kids battling and we try to come in here try to give them something to smile about,” he said. “They definitely give us something to smile about. It’s good for everybody. This is probably the most enjoyable thing we get to do. I get a lot out of it and respect what they have to do and what they have to conquer.”
Veteran offensive lineman Tyron Smith, who has been coming to Fort Worth each December for the past seven seasons, said the visit always brings perspective.
“It helps keep perspective about how things can be in life,” he said. “It’s a beautiful deal. We enjoy it. To just being around the kids and seeing what they’re going through and how positive they can be through everything.”
The Cowboys, Vander Esch said, are a powerful brand and events like Monday’s make a difference for all involved.
“The platform we have, even just being apart of the Dallas Cowboys is huge, you can really make a difference,” Vander Esch said. “Using that to go out and impact people’s lives makes a huge difference in theirs and in ours and we take pride in that.”