On Wednesday, Oct. 5, members of the NFL Alumni Foundation and Circle of Care for Families of Children with Cancer, visited the Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford toting 48 Pillow Pets to give to their pediatric cancer patients.

Having already delivered Pillow Pets to Yale-New Haven Hospital during September's Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, COC co-founders Liz Salguero and Dawn Ladenheim traveled with group members to Hartford.

COC board member Jeanna Shepard from New Canaan, NFL Alumni player and president of CT chapter Steve Thurlow from Greenwich, alumni player Bill Cooke from Fairfield, and NFL Alumni Vice President of Sales and Marketing of CT Chapter Kelly McCoy Newton, also from New Canaan, took the road trip and delivered the Pillow Pets to the clinic.

The idea was spurred 9 months ago when cancer patient Jacob McConahay, 6, had received a My Pillow Pets plush folding stuffed animal as a gift while at the Riley Oncology Center in Indianapolis. After receiving this soft, soothing, stuffed animal-and-pillow in one, his wish was to provide all his friends undergoing cancer treatment at that center with Pillow Pets. With the help of his community, and owners and founders of The My Pillow Pets company, Jennifer and Clint Telfer, his dream was met.

The Telfers have since given more than 140,000 Pillow Pets to pediatric patients across the country through partnerships with foundations such as The NFL Alumni and Circle of Care. Their goal was "to spread smiles and give comfort to as many children as possible." That certainly happened at CCMC Wednesday morning, and Yale-New Haven Children's hospital two weeks prior. Greeted by staff and parents of cancer patients, NFL past players Steve Thurlow of the Giants and Bill Cooke of the Seattle Seahawks personally shared the Pillow Pets and spoke with each child. Their team jerseys sparked conversation among the children and adults alike.

In Connecticut, the NFL Alumni Foundation has been a long-time supporter of Circle of Care. Circle of Care is based in Fairfield County and affiliated with Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and now Maria Ferrari Children's Hospital in Westchester. COC provides patients and their families with practical, emotional and financial support from the day of diagnosis and throughout treatment. It was the NFL Alumni's idea to visit the children and personally donate the Pillow Pets through and in coordination with Circle of Care.

Visit thecircleofcare.org, www.nflalumni.org, and/or www.mypillowpets.com for more information.