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49ers Impact Ohio Community

Posted Sep 25, 2012



BOARDMAN, Ohio – In three separate community functions, members of the San Francisco 49ers touched the lives of dozens of Ohio residents.

Split up into three groups, the team visited the Akron’s Children Hospital, the second grade class at Youngstown Christian School and the third grade class at Watson Elementary.

Coming off a loss in Minnesota, the team’s spirits were instantly boosted by the children they interacted with on Monday.

“I think it's great for the soul,” veteran Randy Moss told local reporters. “I think it's great for the mind to really be able to come to see these kids, see their parents when they're feeling down and out and put a smile on their face.

“That's what life is about is happiness and seeing other people happy. For us to come over to this children's hospital, it was a blessing for us to be here.”

Moss, along with members of the offensive side of the ball, spent time with recovering cancer patients at the hospital. Frank Gore and the running backs also took part in the visit by spending time in the nursery section.

It was the second year in a row Gore rocked a baby to sleep.

“Last year I had a great time and I wanted to come back,” Gore told TV49. “I’m willing to do anything for the kids. These are kids going through tough times. I wanted to come out and show my respect to them.”

The students at Youngstown Christian were overjoyed when defensive players visited the second grade classroom. There, the players joined up with students for a game of “Who wants to be a millionaire?” The questions all dealt with the classroom’s latest reading assignment: Johnny Appleseed.

Mike Pecchia, the President of Youngstown Christian, was thoroughly impressed with the thoughtful interaction from the 49ers players.

“It was fantastic,” Pecchia said. “The players were really engaging; I was amazed at how great they were with the kids.”

In turn, the kids were pleased to have players in the classroom.

“They were so excited,” Pecchia added. “When we told them it was happening, they were so excited. It’s one of the best things to ever happen to our school. We’re a small school in the area and this is a thrill of a lifetime for these kids.”

Joining the players was 49ers Co-Chairman Denise DeBartolo York and her daughters, Jenna and Mara York.

Pecchia said he was equally excited to have the York family take part in the activities.

“Obviously we all know who she is, but this was the first time I was able to meet her,” Pecchia added. “That was great to have her here to see our school and see what we’re doing here.”

The experience was equally beneficial for 49ers players, who were just one day removed from their first loss of the 2012 regular season.

“It’s always fun because you get to bring a lot of joy to the kids and it’s fun for us to be in there playing games with them,” linebacker Parys Haralson detailed. “Anytime you can give back to the community, it’s always a good thing.”

Even the youngest 49ers players felt the children they interacted with boosted their energy.

“It’s good to give back and when you’re around kids, you feel their energy,” said practice squad safety Michael Thomas. “It brings you up and makes you feel good. It takes you back to when you were their age.”

At the hospital, first-round pick A.J. Jenkins was one of the most active 49ers players. The wide receiver raced a 10-year-old recovering cancer patient all around the hospital’s playground.

Jenkins said he had a great time doing it.

“They were some great kids,” Jenkins explained. “This one kid in particular had me going around the playground racing him. A kid like that is 10 years old and already had cancer and a couple of surgeries, with us being blessed the way we are as 49ers, it humbles you. I had a great time with him, he was a great kid.”

Team-wide the experiences were beneficial and will serve the team well as they prepare for a Week 4 matchup against the New York Jets.

View a Photo Gallery of the 49ers Visit to Akron Children's Hospital