There's a big Olympic flame that lights up a room when Olympic champions walk into it. The warm glow on the faces of seven patients at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central in Colorado Springs is proof positive of it. Brooke Lee, 20, was among that group who was on pins and needles, excited to share smiles with Olympic figure skating medal-winner Jason Brown and Paralympian, alpine skiing and cycling medal-winner Allison Jones.
Lee was psyched that a visit from this dynamic duo would happen to her, "The Olympians are going to be here in five minutes. I didn't know what I would do. I waited nervously and then they came in. I was actually more nervous. I'm kind of freaking out, but that's OK."
Brown and Jones were that Olympic calm in the storm for Lee and other patients and it didn't hurt they were bearing gifts of Olympic wear for the lucky seven as they visited oncology, rehab and intensive care units at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central.
The Olympic pair scored gold with their confidence-boosting attitude to everyone they met at the facility. As a Paralympian, Jones understands pain and getting through it. She was born without a right femur and had surgery at seven months old to amputate her right foot. Months later, she received her first prosthetic leg. Jones was just as excited to be at the hospital to meet the patients as they were to meet her, "It's amazing. The visit is the highlight of our day and their day. Bringing a little cheer and to hang out and chat, chill and be friends."
Brown was just as jazzed that he could be part of this meet and greet trip, "It's incredible. What I think is so special about visiting patients from the hospital is that they show real courage and real strength and to see them and see them smile going through whatever they might be going through with their struggles is so neat to be able to see them persevere and that's something we take from our sport. Getting up when we have fallen, pushing on through those tough moments and picking ourselves up from a hard crash or tough competition. To get to be here and see them gives you such perspective and it makes you so aware of how incredible life is and the courage and strength in people. That's what the Olympics are all about."
Among the seven who Brown and Jones visited was shooting survivor, 28-year-old Thomas Villanueva. He was an innocent bystander who was shot on Monday during a deadly shootout at the Murray Hill Apartments on Murray Boulevard and Galley Road in Colorado Springs that claimed the life of El Paso County sheriff's Deputy Micah Flick.
The same feeling of hope, strength and encouragement that Brown and Jones brought with them to the other six patients they visited was also not lost on Villanueva, who managed to smile through their visit and get some pictures snapped with this Olympic dynamic duo.
UCHealth Memorial Hospital is an official partner of the Olympic Training Center and helped get Brown and Jones to the hospital to bring smiles to patients and kick of this year's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.