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Flyers wives and Fun Patrol visit Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse Credit: Melanie Lei

Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse and Good Shepherd Penn Partner rehabilitation patients got a chance to get “Flyered” up just one day after Philadelphia’s ice hockey team reached the Stanley Cup finals, thanks to a May 25 visit from some of the players’ wives and the Fun Patrol, the Flyers’ official pep squad.

The Fun Patrol walked into the hospital with Flyers’ T-shirts, posters, and bandanas, and provided a sense of excitement for the patients, according to Penn Medicine spokeswoman Kim Guenther.

Doreen Holmgren, wife of Flyers’ general Manager Paul Holmgren, said she was concerned when she was asked to visit the hospice center.

“I realized that people there would be sick and in need of help,” Holmgren said.

“I expected to go in and see people who were like ‘what are you doing here, you’re not where I am, you’re healthy and I’m not,’” she added.

Instead, the visitors were met with strong appreciation from the patients.

“As soon as they walked into the room the patients’ faces lit up,” Guenther said.

“They were very excited to see some of the family members of the Flyers and to get a Flyers’ T-shirt or bandana that they could have in their rooms or wear while doing rehabilitation exercises,” she continued.

The visit “brightened the mood in the room and brightened [the patients’] day,” Guenther added.

“We were putting the bandanas on [the patients] and they were saying ‘thank you so much,’” Holmgren said. “One elderly patient was reduced to tears because she’s such a Flyers fan.”

Kellie Page, wife of Comcast Spectacor COO John Page, is a member of the hospice Volunteer Advisory board and was able to put the Flyers in contact with the Penn Hospice staff, Guenther explained.

The Flyers Fun Patrol contacted Penn Hospice to reach out to the community and “really build up the momentum” for the Flyers, who were poised to reach the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs the day before, according to Guenther.

“We decided it would be best for them to visit the hospice patients and some of the rehab patients at Rittenhouse who were going through trying ordeals and could use a positive event,” Guenther said.

One hospice patient and one rehabilitation patient had been growing a beard for the playoffs season. “In some sort of superstitious mode, if the Flyers won then they wouldn’t shave,” she said. “They were both very big Flyers fans and were really thrilled to see that organization visit,” Guenther explained.

The visit put “everything into perspective” when it comes to what is important in her life, Holmgren said.

“Yes, our husbands’ lives are important to us, and they’ve been given a lot of success this year, but I feel really blessed that I was able to reach out and spend sometime with these people who felt a little happiness just by our being there,” she said.

“I was honored,” she added. “These people were a gift to me. I don’t feel that what we did was a gift to them — I felt that they were a gift to me. It was a very humbling experience.”

The Flyers will play the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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