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Sports stars visit with pediatric patients to kick off the Diamond Resorts Invitational

ORLANDO, Fla., Jan. 11, 2016 — Patients at Florida Hospital for Children received a few professional putt-putt tips today from some of the sports and entertainment worlds’ biggest stars.

Among the players who turned out were baseball Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen and Mark Rypien, the MVP of Super Bowl XXVI. They and other stars of baseball, football, hockey and golf played with the kids until taking the fun room to room.

“I think for me it’s changed my life perspective about what I take for granted or I’ve been blessed with, and any chance to do something like this is really a treat,” said Smoltz.

Maggie Ryon, whose son is a patient at the hospital, was excited to see him have so much fun.

“He doesn’t have anything from the outside world right now, so to have an opportunity like this — to have these interactions — they are the things that make this easier for him,” she said.

The visit was in advance of the nationally televised Diamond Resorts Invitational, which will benefit Florida Hospital for Children.

“We’re so grateful to the celebrities and athletes who took time to thoughtfully interact with patients and families at Florida Hospital for Children,” said Marla Silliman, senior executive officer of Florida Hospital for Children and Florida Hospital for Women. “Our patients are the real winners in this part of the tournament week. This visit has become something our staff and patients look forward to with great anticipation each year, and it’s exciting and meaningful for everyone involved.”

Tranquilo Golf Club, located at Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, will host the second annual invitational Jan. 13-15. The event brings together 30 PGA Tour Champions and 50 celebrities from the sports and entertainment industries to compete side-by-side.

For media inquiries only, call Florida Hospital Corporate Communications at 407-303-8217.