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Through Teddy Bears, Cardinals Spread Cheer

Annual visit to Phoenix Children's Hospital let players put smiles on kids' faces

Images from the Cardinals' visit to the Phoenix Children's Hospital

The Cardinals will resume their battle for playoff positioning on Sunday against the 49ers, but several players on Tuesday afternoon saw what it's really like to fight.

The Cardinals visited the Phoenix Children's Hospital for their annual Teddy Bear Express, entering rooms to drop off a stuffed animal and say hello to youngsters with serious afflictions – many of whom will be spending the holidays at the hospital.

Quarterback Ryan Lindley spoke with one 20-year-old who was lucky enough to be going home before Christmas, but still had 53 days remaining of cancer chemotherapy. It was Lindley's third time visiting the hospital for Teddy Bear Express.

"There are people that I've seen from the first two years I was here that are still here," Lindley said. "You learn their story, and you come back at some point during the year and you get to see them and how their children are doing. You build relationships, and that's something that I think is special."

Lindley, long snapper Mike Leach, punter Drew Butler, defensive end Kareem Martin and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander were joined by Nicole Bidwill, her therapy dog, Barney, Cardinals cheerleaders and Big Red.

The patients gravitated to different members of the group. Some wanted to talk football with the players. Others were joined by 185-pound Barney in their bed. Many enjoyed joking around with Big Red.

"Their eyes just light up and they get the biggest smile," Martin said. "Luckily a few of the people got to go home today. That's double the excitement for them. It was great to see."

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