Kids Battling Cancer Get a Special Visit from Baby Pens

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MONTOUR COUNTY -- Instead of having a day full of treatments and doctors appointments, several kids battling cancer at Geisinger Medical Center got a bit of a break this morning, getting a visit from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins.

The players brought smiles and laughter for the kids and their families and beads of courage to help them along the way.

It was all smiles for Michaela Nagel and Erica Miller and their families as they enjoyed every second of a visit with a few players from the Wilkes-Barrre Scranton Penguins.

"It`s definitely awesome because it makes the day go faster and it keeps my mind off of things," said 14-year old Michaela Nagel.

Michaela has been battling cancer since she was only 15-months old, and came to the hospital today for yet another round of chemo. Her mom says the Penguins' visit made their trip to Geisinger, a happy one.

"When she found out about the Penguins coming it just made her day, she was up and ready," said Andrea Nagel of Lewistown.

The Pens players accompanied by their wives or girlfriends talked with the kids about their treatments and these special beads of courage that mark each milestone of their cancer treatment.

"These are for like seeing the other doctors, and these are for the spinal taps that I got, and these are for getting my medi-port accessed," said cancer survivor Erica Miller.

"It`s amazing when we first met the kids and they were going through their beads and how many they got and what each one symbolizes and means to them it`s amazing," said Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins player Riley Holzapfel.

Part of today`s special visit with the Penguins included another set of beads, specially made by the players so these kids can remember this part of their journey here at Geisinger.

Mom Jayleen Miller of Orangeville says her 10-year old daughter Erica is winning the battle against leukemia, but her beads of courage help them remember just how far she's come.

"It`s where she was, where she is, where we`ve been how far she`s come along the way, so it`s just a very visual way to look at that," she said.

And for Michaela, the Pens are keeping her spirits up through treatment. But these players say it's the kids who brightened their day instead.

"It`s special for us, and as much as we probably made an impact on her today, she made an impact on us," said Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins player Joey Mormina.

The Wilkes-Barre Scranton penguins will also be wearing special beads during pregame warm-ups Saturday March 2. The players will keep one set of beads, and the others will go to kids at Geisinger's Janet Weis Children's Hospital.