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Notre Dame Women's Basketball gives back to patients at St. Joe Medical Center

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- The last 14 days have been trying for Gena Peebles and her son Caleb. Caleb is fighting Cystic Fibrosis and was admitted to Pediatrics at the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center two weeks ago.

Monday, the fourteenth day, was different. Caleb was being discharged from treatment and received a big surprise from the Notre Dame Women’s Basketball Team.

The Surprise

Caleb and his mother Gena

NDWBB players like Kristina Nelson, Brianna Turner, and Arike Ogunbowale arrived at the hospital just before 3 p.m. along with Head Coach Muffet McGraw.

“No parent, no kid wants to be in the hospital for Christmas. So, if we can kind of lighten their load for a few minutes out of the day, that’s something that brings a smile to our face too,” said McGraw.

Four floors up is the Pediatric floor and Caleb.With a knock and a “surprise,” the team filled the room with smiles, Christmas spirit, and gifts.

He was given gifts like Notre Dame shirts, a pullover, and a basketball signed by all of the girls.

Caleb’s mother said it was the first time she had seen so shocked and speechless. It was definitely not the day he was expecting.

"Oh, it was awesome. It was a wonderful surprise for him. He's always about having visitors up here. He really likes that," said Peebles.

He unfolded shirt after shirt as he pulled them out of the bags, a little overwhelmed but thankful.

The players were humbled by the experience of giving back.

“I mean if you can do anything to make anybody’s day better its really something special. For him to be able to go home today for the holidays, its really just a great opportunity for us to be there and cheer him on,” said Kathryn Westbeld, ND Forward. “We’re so blessed to be in the positions we’re in right now and for us to be able to give back in any way possible and just for us to be there and support little kids is just something great."

The holiday season hasn't been easy. Peebles said there was a lot to wrap up and they're getting though it but going home is, "Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful."

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