Five teenage burn victims receiving treatment at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston and three hospital staffers were in the Fenway Park stands for the World Series game Tuesday night, thanks to MMA star Conor McGregor and the Boston Fire Department.
“Based on the smiles and the incredible amount of dancing, I’d say [the patients] had a very, very good time,” said Hillary Smith, the hospital’s senior child life specialist, who got to go to the game with the patients.
The group of eight was given tickets to Game 1 by the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation, which had gotten the tickets from McGregor over the weekend, according to Mark Sanders, spokesman for the Fire Department.
McGregor wanted to show his appreciation for Boston’s firefighters by gifting them eight tickets to the first game of the Series. The firefighters, in turn, donated them to the foundation so that burn victims and the people who are treating them could go instead, Sanders said.
The five patients, who are all between the ages of 14 and 18, hail from several countries, but they are all currently undergoing treatment and rehabilitation in Boston for traumatic burn injuries they sustained in the past, according to a statement from Shriners. None of them had ever been to a Red Sox game before. Accompanying them were Smith, a nurse, and a physical therapist.
“It was a high energized, powerful moment for everyone involved,” Smith said. “They quickly got into when you stand and when you scream.”
McGregor responded to the news of the patients going to the game on Twitter, calling it a moment of “truly feel good inspiration.”
“I was blown away when I heard this!” he said in a tweet Monday. “This is what happens when you gift true selfless heroes. They pass the gift on to the people that they have dedicated their entire life’s work to rescuing and keeping safe, and without a second thought!”
The group of eight visited the Engine 33 Ladder 15 firehouse before the game to thank the firefighters and receive their tickets before departing for the stadium in a Fire Department vehicle, Sanders said. On the way to the game, the patients practiced singing “Sweet Caroline” so that they would be ready to join Red Sox Nation when they began singing.
“They had a great time and the Red Sox won, so that was a huge part of it,” Sanders said.