Edelman, McCourty visit Dana-Farber

BOSTON, Mass. -- Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and defensive back Devin McCourty spent part of Tuesday afternoon at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, sharing stories and taking pictures with donors and patients.

The visit was part of the Patriots “Celebrate Volunteerism” campaign, and the players expressed their appreciation by handing out autographed photos.

One donor had a special request to sign a plastic brace/walking boot on her left foot and ankle. Edelman and McCourty were more than happy to oblige, and the donor stated that her grandson would be thrilled to take the boot from her when she was back to full health and no longer in need of it.

It was evident that mutual appreciation was shared by the players and those involved with the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center, as Edelman and McCourty went from patient to patient, spending time with each.

Neither can recall giving blood of their own, and Edelman noted with a light-hearted tone, “needles scared me.”

The Kraft Family Blood Donor Center teams up with the Brigham’s and Women’s Hospital Blood Donor Center to collect platelets and perform more than 60,000 transfusions annually.

The two players fielded questions from reporters after meeting with a group of donors, and each talked about what being at the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center meant to them.

“Any time you can go out and donate some time, especially with people that are donating their blood platelets, it just definitely humbles you and puts life in perspective.” Edelman said. “These people are real heroes, they’re saving people every day, and I’m honored that they allowed us to come and meet these people.”

“Just to take time out of our day and come to do something that actually really matters. Sometimes we get caught up in everything we’re trying to do, getting better [as] football players, but you step outside of that, you get to the see real life and see things that really matter.” McCourty told reporters. “These donors, and getting to see some patients, if we can just put a smile on somebody’s face and be some type of difference and help them out, it’s a pleasure being here.”

The tandem acknowledged that the visit carried even more of a special meaning because of the connection to the late Myra Kraft.

“Definitely. That goes with anybody. When you’re directly a part of something and you can actually see things in movement, and for us to come here, it definitely hits home,” McCourty stated, “It’s a great cause no matter what, but for it to hit home I think makes it even more important to us and players on our team.”

“I personally got to know a little bit of Mrs. Kraft and the time that she donated to everything, you feel like you have nothing else to do but go out here and give some time,” Edelman added. “It’s definitely for a great cause.”