Ana Brightens Day For Hospital-Bound Kids
by Dana Hatic|
Ana Ivanovic brightened the faces at Baptist Children’s Hospital Wednesday as she made her way from room to room, chatting and posing for photos with young patients. The Serbian native took time out from her practice schedule and preparations for her Friday match at the Sony Ericsson Open against Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm to interact with the hospitalized children.
“It’s really nice to come and visit, especially the kids, and try to give them something in return, and try to cheer them up a little bit,” Ivanovic said, after visiting a number of children and sharing autographed tokens from the Sony Ericsson Open. “You see a lot of sad things and injustices as well for a young kid to be sick or hurt. It’s hard.”
Barbara Moore, who works in public relations at Baptist Children’s Hospital, spoke of the permanent mark Ivanovic left in Miami when she first visited the hospital in 2006. “She’s just genuine. You can tell that, the way she interacts with the children.”
Ivanovic, 23, serves as an ambassador for UNICEF and works mostly with younger kids. “I am in charge of ‘School Without Violence’ for mainly primary schools and also in high schools. So, I always try to help in any way I can.”
Though Ivanovic doesn’t spend much time in Serbia (about two weeks of the year, she said) she leaves her mark there with the work she does for UNICEF. “Sometimes I come in contact with the same kids, and we do some interactions together and that’s very nice, because most of these kids are under 15 years old. I can see that they are so excited about it, and it’s rewarding for me as well.”
Laurie Sergeant, a child life specialist for Baptist, noted the joy a visit from someone like Ivanovic brings to the children in the hospital in Miami. “It breaks up the day for the kids,” she said. “It’s nice for them to be remembered. It doesn’t take much to make the kids feel special.”
Ivanovic’s gentle personality brought smiles to the children’s faces, and she left the hospital with a big smile herself. “I love working with kids. I would like to have two or three of my own one day,” she said. “But still… not thinking about that [at the moment],” she added with a chuckle. Right now, she will stick to focusing on the upcoming week of tennis.
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