New Orleans Saints Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc and players Shayne Graham, Bryce Harris, Ryan Griffin, Terron Armstead, Austin Johnson, Senio Kelemete and Brandon Coleman visited cancer patients at The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center located on the Ochsner Medical Center campus Tuesday.
LeBlanc indicated her excitement and support for the event in an interview before meeting the patients.
"Today we're visiting Ochsner and The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center to shed some light and excitement on a Tuesday in October. I'm also wearing pink because it's breast cancer awareness month. And we're delivering bags and just having a nice time cheering up patients here," LeBlanc said. "We try to make visits as often as we can during the season. Tuesdays are the day off and we have some really great guys here sharing their off-time with the patients here at The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner."
Rita Benson LeBlanc, Shayne Graham, Austin Johnson, Bryce Harris, Ryan Griffin, Terron Armstead, Senio Kelemete and Brandon Coleman visited The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center on Oct. 14. Photos by Connor Tarter.
Patients who are currently receiving treatment for their varying ailments and respective cancers enjoyed visits with the players as they distributed Saints items.
The patients were greeted by each player individually, and after being presented with their bag of Saints items were given the opportunity to have photos taken with Ms. LeBlanc and the players, prints of which will be delivered to them at a later date.
Some of the patients were even prepared with some of their own personal Saints memorabilia, which they had autographed by all of the players.
One of the players involved in the visit, Terron Armstead, indicated his appreciation for events such as these.
"As many times as I can in a year I try to get out and do hospital visits, school visits," Armstead said. "I have a family member right now that's fighting cancer, so this was a good opportunity for me. I love to see these people smile. I took a few pictures with Ms. Deb in the front and she just seemed like her day was made, so that's all that matters for us."
In what was possibly the highlight of the afternoon, Ms. LeBlanc and the players were able to witness and assist a patient in ringing a ceremonial bell, which signified the end of her chemotherapy.
LeBlanc pointed out the importance of the visit for all of the patients involved.
"I think it's exciting for them to know that their city and their hospital is special," LeBlanc said. "Our partnership with Ochsner means a great deal to the New Orleans Saints."