NEWS | December 10, 2013

Sacramento Republic FC visits UC Davis Children's Hospital patients


Photo of Rodrigo Lopez with patient
Sacramento Republic FC midfielder Rodrigo "Roro" Lopez meets with 7-year-old patient Levin Cambridge. To view more photos, visit UC Davis Children's Hospital's Facebook page.

Sacramento Republic FC scored big with UC Davis Children's Hospital patients when they visited Thursday morning.

Coach Preki, midfielder Rodrigo "RoRo" Lopez and technical director Graham Smith brought cheer to the Pediatrics Unit playroom, signing autographs, playing board games and talking with patients and their families in the playroom. Patients also received Sac Republic FC stickers and tattoos, which they wore with pride.

The group also went bedside to visit with some young patients who were too ill to leave their room.

Patient Alan Navarro-Moreno, 15, enjoyed shaking hands and taking photos with Preki, Smith and Lopez before being discharged that day.

"He plays soccer competitively and was so excited to meet Sac Republic FC," said Diana Sundberg, manager of the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, who helped to coordinate the visit. "He is already a fan."

For the Sacramento's professional soccer team, the feeling was mutual.

"At the end of the day, these kids are the real heroes," said Lopez. "My family is like many of these families, in which childhood memories include not just birthday parties and an afternoon at the park, but visits with doctors and hospitals. The courage these children embody, including my own son who is diagnosed with an aortic stenosis, is greater than anything I will ever endure as an adult. If for only a few minutes, I can make them feel the joys of childhood, through a smile or visit, then it is the least I can do for them and their families."

UC Davis Children's Hospital is the Sacramento region's only nationally ranked, comprehensive hospital for children, serving infants, children, adolescents and young adults with primary, subspecialty and critical care. It includes the Central Valley's only pediatric emergency department and Level I pediatric trauma center, which offers the highest level of care for critically ill children. The 129-bed children's hospital includes the state-of-the-art 49-bed neonatal and 24-bed pediatric intensive care and pediatric cardiac intensive care units. With more than 120 physicians in 33 subspecialties, UC Davis Children's Hospital has more than 74,000 clinic and hospital visits and 13,000 emergency department visits each year. For more information, visit