K Jason Hanson delivers Baskets of Hope to children at Beaumont Hospital

Posted Feb 11, 2012

Hanson with Peggy Phelan of Farmington Hills. More photos
Alec Jennings of Milford was at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak Thursday recovering from a bad break to his femur suffered playing football on the playground at school.

A bad day for Jennings got a little brighter, though, when the self-professed Lions fan got a chance meeting with Lions kicker Jason Hanson.

"It was cool and really fun," said a little happier Jennings after meeting with Hanson. "I was really surprised."

Hanson was at Beaumont delivering gift baskets to families in the Pediatric unit as part of the Basket of Hope program.

Basket of Hope provides gifts to children diagnosed with serious illnesses. The baskets are delivered by volunteers who also spend time meeting with the families. Basket of Hope customizes each basket with age appropriate toys, games and crafts for the child and siblings.

"Basket of Hope is a great event," Hanson said. "The baskets they gave were amazing, and to go with a jersey and a bunch of baskets, it really brightened their day.

"You put a jersey on and you get instant credibility. The kids loved it and it was as much fun for me as it was for them."

Basket of Hope has delivered thousands of baskets across the nation. There are currently 20 participating hospitals, including Beaumont.

Hanson came bearing an assortment of gifts for the children, a tote for the mothers, a pillow pet for each child and inspirational materials including a cd, bible, book by Tony Dungy and devotional journal, if the families wanted it.

"I was star-struck, for sure," said 17-year-old Peggy Phelan of Farmington Hills, a long-time patient at Beaumont, who was set to go home on Thursday. "I saw him and I knew right away who he was and it's just an honor to meet him."

There's never a good day to be in the hospital, but at least Hanson was able to put a few smiles on some faces, including a few young Lions fans.