PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Eagles took a little time off the practice field Monday to prepare for the playoffs with a special pep rally at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

CHOP partnered with the Eagles to throw an exclusive pep rally to kick off a week of excitement and anticipation for the team’s first playoff game since 2013. And some of the team’s biggest little fans were absolutely thrilled.

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“Because we get to meet the Eagles players,” said 9-year-old Gabriela Didio.

Gabriela and her mother Lisa Didio and Grandmother Rosemary Mazia. (credit: Shaea Dae Howard)

Gabriela spends a lot of time at CHOP, and her mother, Lisa, says events like these make trips to the hospital not just more bearable, but something her daughter looks forward to.

“CHOP isn’t just somewhere where she comes to feel better,” her mother said, “but there are happy and positive things too.”

Matt Pionkaowki with CHOP tries to bring the outside world into the hospital with the hopes of making the healing process an a more pleasant experience.

“It’s amazing. We try to plan events like this to try to normalize the lives of our patients and their families,” he said. “We know some children may not be able to get to an Eagles game, so we try to bring things like this to them.”

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Mack Hollins signing autographs for kids. (credit: Shara Dae Hollins)

Eagles rookie wide receiver Mack Hollins and the several Eagles cheerleaders spent part of the day playing BINGO and taking photos with the children.

Hollins says spending time with kids at CHOP is the best way he can think to prepare for the playoffs.

“We’re lucky and blessed enough to play in a playoff game and some people aren’t. To be able to help those people any way you can is important,” Hollins said. “It’s great to spend time with the kids because they are the light and they put a smile on your face.”



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