By Shawn Chitnis
HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – Staff at Children’s Hospital Colorado South Campus unveiled a mural celebrating their partnership with the Denver Broncos Tuesday with a piece of art featuring former quarterback Peyton Manning and two current patients.
“You just don’t need to be scared, at all,” said Kaley McGill, 10, an ambassador for the hospital who has had several surgeries and procedures at Children’s. “I’ve been here my whole life, and I’ve never been scared.”
She was one of the two children in the mural who spent the day with the two-time NFL champion earlier this year at a photoshoot in Denver. The mural is the first of its kind and highlights the work between the team and the hospital to help local children dealing with serious conditions.
Manning’s experience with injuries and treatment make the painting even more meaningful, staff said at the event.
“It was one of the best experiences. It was really humbling and really amazing,” said Logan Moore, 12, another ambassador for the hospital.
The two patients posed with Manning at the Broncos training facility. Artist Gabe Richesson created the mural using a photo the trio took that day.
Both of the two children portrayed in the work of art were impressed to see what the painter did to make the finished product. The mountains added in the background was a highlight for many attending the event.
“I am not able to play sports like other kids, but I am one of the few lucky enough to say I got a handoff from Peyton Manning,” McGill joked to the crowd before helping to reveal the mural. “My doctors are even luckier because they get to see my beautiful face every day on this painting.”
Beyond the final contribution to the hospital, the process itself was an exciting experience for the children who met with Manning. They spent time with the player and even tossed the football with him before the day was done.
“We didn’t get to like have tea and crumpets, but I did get to talk to him for a little bit, which was pretty cool,” said Moore.
Moore was treated for a lung tumor and now helps the hospital raise money for more children and their families by sharing his story.
McGill says she learned what a snap was and enjoyed seeing Manning in person. She has a bone disease that requires several visits to the hospital.
Both of them speak highly about their time at Children’s and hope others know they can have a positive experience too. They want the mural to be an inspiration for anyone undergoing similar treatment at the hospital.
“It was us looking at the people out there just thinking, you can do this,” Moore said about what he likes most about the mural.