Spokane Indians Players Bringing Smiles To Shriners Hospital For - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Indians Players Bringing Smiles To Shriners Hospital For Children

SPOKANE, Wash. -

You don't often hear laughter inside hospital walls – a place where kids like Gracie Werk have spent far too much time in their short, little lives.

Now 9 years old, she's been in and out of the hospital since she was 4 with a case of scoliosis so severe it was impacting her internal organs.

"Her outlook is, ‘Mom, I'm doing this so I can be better, I want to swim and be able to run,'" her mother, Leann Werk, told KHQ's Kelsey Watts. "She's the one who is awesome because she helps keep me going."

Now in traction at Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane, she needs to have back surgery to either fuse her spine or insert rods. The Werk family is from Montana and has been at Shriners for 35 days now – mother sleeping on a couch next to her daughter's hospital bed.

Gracie is certainly in need of a smile, and Tuesday she – and a lot of other children – got it when three Spokane Indians pitchers visited.

John Straka, Collin Wiles and Luis Pollorena signed autographs, made new friends with the kids, took pictures and gave out team swag – along with Doris the Spokanasaurus.

"I know what they're going through," Pollorena told KHQ.

At the age of 4, he was diagnosed with leukemia – a battle he fought until age 8. While Shriners doesn't treat children with cancer, Pollorena remembers all too well what it's like to be a kid in a hospital, wanting to do things your body simply won't allow.

"It was a struggle to just wake up day in and day out and say, ‘I'm going to be fine,' and move forward even though things looked rough at the time," Pollorena explained. "They called [my recovery] a miracle, but we know God just put his hands on me and he has plans for me, and hopefully that's baseball."

Gracie and her mom went to a Spokane Indians game a few weeks ago, and also attended Tuesday's game against Hillsboro, bringing a little light – and a little baseball – into her long recovery.

"A week after they got her in traction she's totally different, she's running and playing and being a little girl like she should be," Werk explained.

"You can see it in these kids – how they're carrying themselves, some of them have broken bones, but the smiles on their faces tell you deep down, ‘I'm going to be fine,' that's what they're thinking," Pollorena added. "It's just nice to be able to give back."

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Police: Video shows teens watching, laughing as man drowns

    Police: Video shows teens watching, laughing as man drowns

    Saturday, July 22 2017 2:48 PM EDT2017-07-22 18:48:32 GMT

    COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities in Florida say a group of teens watched and laughed as a man drowned in a retention pond last week. Jamel Dunn drowned in a retention pond in the city of Cocoa on July 9. Cocoa police say they later discovered a group of teens recorded the 31-year-old's drowning on video. The video was released by the state attorney's office Thursday and audio was published by Florida Today.

    >>

    COCOA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities in Florida say a group of teens watched and laughed as a man drowned in a retention pond last week. Jamel Dunn drowned in a retention pond in the city of Cocoa on July 9. Cocoa police say they later discovered a group of teens recorded the 31-year-old's drowning on video. The video was released by the state attorney's office Thursday and audio was published by Florida Today.

    >>
  • Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Saturday, July 22 2017 7:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 23:50:23 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>
  • Washington's new DUI-E law takes effect Sunday

    Washington's new DUI-E law takes effect Sunday

    Tuesday, July 18 2017 10:02 PM EDT2017-07-19 02:02:25 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - "He was my youngest, he was my baby bear," Tina Myer said about her son that was killed by a distracted driver. It was a distracted driver that killed Tina Myer's son Cody, hitting the 23-year-old as he was working as a flagger at a construction site in December 2015. He suffered severe injuries, and died several months later. Now Myer is joining Governor Inslee, praising a new DUI-E law.

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/
  • Top Stories from KHQHomeMore>>

  • Trump asserts all agree he has 'complete power' to pardon

    Trump asserts all agree he has 'complete power' to pardon

    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:46 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:46:35 GMT

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. The subject of pardons is one of many topics that appears to have occupied the president's mind Saturday morning.

    >>

    WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump says he has "complete power" to issue pardons, an assertion that comes amid investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election. The subject of pardons is one of many topics that appears to have occupied the president's mind Saturday morning.

    >>
  • Creators, cast of 'Stranger Things' debut season 2 trailer

    Creators, cast of 'Stranger Things' debut season 2 trailer

    Saturday, July 22 2017 8:22 PM EDT2017-07-23 00:22:33 GMT

    SAN DIEGO (AP) - The creators of "Stranger Things" premiered a trailer for the show's second season at Comic-Con on Saturday that was so new, even the cast hadn't seen it. The Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine and the crew of young actors who play a group of friends searching for their buddy who mysteriously disappears.

    >>

    SAN DIEGO (AP) - The creators of "Stranger Things" premiered a trailer for the show's second season at Comic-Con on Saturday that was so new, even the cast hadn't seen it. The Duffer Bros. were joined by director Shawn Levy and stars Millie Bobby Brown, Matthew Modine and the crew of young actors who play a group of friends searching for their buddy who mysteriously disappears.

    >>
  • Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Crews continue to fight brush fire near Highway 195

    Saturday, July 22 2017 7:50 PM EDT2017-07-22 23:50:23 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State Patrol reports the Snag fire burning south of Spokane is 50 percent contained as of Saturday evening. Crews are expected to be on the scene of the fire through the night Saturday.

    >>