On Monday morning, Nationals pitcher John Lannan met with children and families at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda. Lannan, a 2009 recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award for community service, is a Sports Ambassador to the Children's Inn at NIH.
The facility is a "place like home" for children receiving treatment at NIH for serious illnesses including cancer, heart, lung, blood, bone and growth disorders, mental illnesses, and HIV infection.
"Anytime you can be part of something like this, it's great. Building relationships in the community is something that's really important to me," said Lannan.
"To come out and actually hang out with these kids is a great time. It would be awesome if I could come out every month and meet the kids."
The lefty played air hockey, pool and video games with the patients and families. He also signed autographs, took pictures and passed out t-shirts.
Last fall, Lannan made his first appearance at the facility joined by his teammate Craig Stammen.
Lannan began working with the Children's Inn last season when he launched Lannan's Cannons. The program brings 25 guests from the Children's Inn out to Nationals Park for a day of baseball once a month. Each guest is given a ticket, a food voucher and a Lannan's Cannons t-shirt.
"The Nationals have been great with getting me involved," Lannan said. "We talked about the t-shirts, the design and the NatsBucks. I'll do whatever I can do to help."
Lannan covered the costs of the t-shirts and food vouchers while the Nationals will provide complimentary tickets.
This season, the program kicks off on Tuesday, April 20th for the evening game against the Colorado Rockies. The group will enjoy batting practice from the field and a special game-day visit from Lannan.
To learn more about the Children's Inn, visit www.childrensinn.org.
Also, check MASN's Facebook page for more pictures of Lannan's visit to the Children's Inn.