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Eric LeGrand and Mike Nichols Inspire!

Promoting positivity, Eric LeGrand and Mike Nichols took several pediatric patients by surprise with a visit at PSE&G Children’s Specialized Hospital!

With smiles, laughter, encouraging words and shared experiences, Nichols and LeGrand — who dressed as Santa Claus — demonstrated their unique understanding of the challenges faced by these patients. Nichols, 21, and LeGrand, 27, both paralyzed during sporting events, stopped at the therapy room to check on how a few patients were making out before meeting up with some more patients in the recreation room.

There, the two joined patients Santos Arocho, 17, Gevondus “Poppy” Hagood, 24, Lara Mesita, 14, Jordan Ramos, 12, and Ashley Torres, 19 for a competitive game of Uno and conversation. They talked sports, movies, school and life.

LeGrand had candy canes for the patients while Nichols brought some small toys and games.

“Eric LeGrand is one of my heroes,” Arocho said. “I’ve met him before. I look up to him for inspiration. And today he came as Santa — I wasn’t expecting anything — I was really surprised.”

A member of the Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health System, Children’s Specialized Hospital is a provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age who face chronic illnesses, complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, and/or developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health.

LeGrand, a Rutgers University football player, and Nichols, a Monroe Township High School hockey player, met with patients to offer inspiration during their recovery process, which can be long, ongoing and arduous.