Brothers Brad and Phil, two clients at Marklund in Geneva, had the time of their lives at the Oct. 4 Chicago Blackhawks game. They are serious Blackhawks fans, watching every game on TV and keeping up with the sports news in the media.
The brothers were born with the same genetic degenerative disorder that has left them both wheelchair bound, almost entirely nonverbal and on feeding tubes. Before the disorders took over, the two spent their youth like most others -- running, playing sports, and going to school.
Two Marklund staff members -- registered nurse Tori Jenkins and certified nursing assistant Stephanie Dellegrazie -- went to the Oct. 4 game with them in order to attend to their health care needs.
As it happened, one of Marklund's maintenance technicians, Paul Rogers, was also at the game, so he stopped by their seating area a number of times to see how they were doing.
The two brothers, both full-time residents at Marklund in Geneva, were transported by Marklund's special wheelchair-accessible bus to the Blackhawks game at the United Center.
The Blackhawks provided the two clients and two staff members with tickets after receiving a heartfelt letter written by Dellegrazie. The tickets were on the first level, very close to one end of the rink, giving the guys great views of the preseason action. The special access into the United Center was convenient for them and very quick as well. Marklund is very appreciative of the Chicago Blackhawks for making this night possible, as well as very accessible for the clients and staff.
The brothers endured the long ride in to the United Center, sat in their chairs in the special designated area for the whole game, and got home at 11:30 p.m., much later than their normal routine.
Longtime sports fans who grew up in the Geneva/Batavia area, they had such fun, first being greeted by the Blackhawks ice crew cheerleaders, then shopping for souvenirs and watching the Hawks beat the Detroit Red Wings 6-1!
They also enjoyed the festive atmosphere with the "Chelsea Dagger" song playing after goals and the crowd yelling at the opposing team! Paul Rogers said the best part was seeing their smiles.
To see more photos of Brad and Phil at the Blackhawks game or to learn more about the nonprofit organization that serves infants, children and adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities, check out www.facebook.com/MarklundCharity/.