Davis family teams up with Md. kids' hospital

Couple will be ambassadors, help raise awareness for pediatric illnesses

Davis family teams up with Md. kids' hospital

BALTIMORE -- When he signed a club-record seven-year, $161 million contract this past January, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis referenced wanting to do more in the community. He made good on that promise Tuesday, as he and his wife, Jill, announced a new partnership with the University of Maryland Children's Hospital (UMCH).

The Davis family will serve as ambassadors for UMCH, helping to raise awareness for childhood illnesses and UMCH's role as a leader in patient care and pediatric disease research and teaching future generations of health care providers.

"We wanted to get involved in several ways with the city," Davis said of his wife, who previously worked as a nurse. "There were a number of organizations that we've already partnered with throughout the years that we're going to continue to work with. We wanted to do something that was a little closer to home for Jill, something that she could have a little bit more involvement with.

"We just kind of fell in love with the hospital, with the people who work there, the things that they're doing, where they want to go. We're all in on that. And we decided to come up here this offseason and do some things to kind of get involved in and show our faces even though we're kind of here and there [in Texas]."

Throughout the 2017 season, Chris and Jill will visit with pediatric patients at UMCH, provide autographed memorabilia to include in silent auctions benefiting the Hospital's philanthropy efforts and assist with several fund-raising events.

While Chris said he's always had a soft spot for kids, the couple's daughter, Ella, has certainly changed their perspective.

"Being a dad now and seeing some of these kids and what they're going through, it definitely affects you differently [than before]," Chris said. "You want to give back any way that you can. You see how these kids approach every day, and to know what they're going through and to see how upbeat they are, and how really inspiring they are even if they're not meaning to be, it just makes you want to do anything you can to help them."

The partnership was announced before the 38th annual OriolesREACH Holiday Party for kids at Dave & Busters in the Arundel Mills Mall. The event included 80 patients previously treated by caregivers from UMCH.

"For Chris and Jill to be involved really brings us more recognition, because they do such amazing things in the community and he does amazing things on the field," said UMCH's Dr. Vicki Tepper. "So they will be able to highlight us and with that partnership hopefully bring more attention to the life-saving work we do every day."

Later this week, the Davises will donate and distribute nearly two dozen MamaRoos to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at UMCH, completing an ongoing project to secure one for each room within the unit. MamaRoos are infant seats that mimic the rocking movement parents makes while comforting their baby. The Davis family will also be donating presents to the hospital's annual Snow Pile event, which provides families of hospitalized children with an opportunity to experience holiday cheer free of the financial burden and time constraints of holiday shopping.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.