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Feb. 20, 2017 -- Harlem Globetrotter Willie Shaw visits patients at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital

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MOBILE, Ala. -- A member of the Harlem Globetrotters, “Slick” Willie Shaw, visited dozens of patients, their families and staff at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital on Feb. 20.

With the Globetrotters for more than eight years, Shaw signed autographs, posed for photos and showed off some of his smooth moves. He is known for spinning two basketballs on his fingers in opposite directions at the same time.

One of the first patients Shaw visited was Caroline, a 14-year-old from Baldwin County who was recently diagnosed with cancer. She and her parents were in the USS Hope infusion suite for a new treatment. The teen held up her smart phone and recorded a quick video of Shaw spinning a red, white and blue ball. A few minutes later, her mom leaned in and grinned as her daughter replayed the moment. Caroline told a reporter that spending a few minutes with the famous athlete made her day.

While the annual visit from the Harlem Globetrotters brings smiles from sick children and their caregivers, it also has a more significant purpose. The tour is part of distraction therapy, a series of techniques used by the hospital’s Mapp Child & Family Life staff and others as a way to bring some normalcy to the experience of being hospitalized -- and away from home and school -- for an illness.

About USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital

With 1,200 employees, USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital features the region's only Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, caring for up to 100 newborns each day. It also includes the region's only Pediatric Intensive Care Unit where critically ill children receive specialized care. Mobile's leader in births with 2,800 deliveries each year, the hospital’s Pediatric Evaluation Center records more than 40,000 visits annually.

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