Oakland Raiders quarterback and Fresno State alumnus Derek Carr spent Saturday with patients at Valley Children’s Hospital – a relationship the athlete had solidified with the Madera hospital from the first days of his son Dallas’ life.
Hours after Dallas was born in Clovis in August 2013, he was rushed to the children’s hospital for emergency surgery for an intestinal complication. Dallas ended up having three surgeries and staying in the neonatal intensive care unit for more than three weeks.
Last year, the hospital launched a partnership with Carr.
“I think it will be a relationship we have forever,” he said. “It’s not just a business relationship – it’s like family for us.”
Since partnering, Carr has appeared in billboard and print ads and commercials for the hospital.
“Valley Children’s is a part of who I am – it’s a part of my story; it’s a part of my family’s story,” he said. “It obviously touches our heart because we have a little boy running around healthy every day.”
The main reason for Carr’s visit to Valley Children’s on Saturday was to bring joy to the lives of several young patients. Carr and his wife, Heather, participated in a tea party with two sisters from Atwater, ages 5 and 11, who have cystic fibrosis.
“It’s fun to come back,” Carr said. “The tea party was amazing – just to see the smiles on those little girls’ faces.”
Valley Children’s is a part of who I am – it’s a part of my story; it’s a part of my family’s story. It obviously touches our heart because we have a little boy running around healthy every day.
, Oakland Raiders quarterback and Fresno State alumnus
In the afternoon, Carr went go-karting with a 15-year-old boy from Madera who is being treated for a lymphoma in his stomach.
A particularly poignant moment for Carr was presenting Alden Washam, the nurse who treated Dallas during his 23-day hospital stay, with an award as part of the hospital’s Halo Program, which allows patients and their families to honor exceptional caregivers.
“Alden was just someone that was really special for our family,” he said. “We were able to bring Dallas back (three) years later and come hang out and see her and give her that award she got today.
“She was really a blessing to our family – to keep us encouraged and to be someone there to give us a vote of confidence,” Carr said.
Carr also discussed the Raiders’ possible move to Las Vegas.
“I love Oakland; I love the fans,” Carr said. “I want to obviously stay in Oakland – it’s where I played my first professional football – but I always know that (majority owner Mark Davis) has the best interest of the Raiders in mind, so he’s going to put us exactly where we need to be.”
They’re going to take my jersey away at some point; there’s going to be a new Raiders quarterback and a ‘new Derek Carr.’ But I’m going to be the same person. I’m always going to be doing things that go way beyond football.
Jack Del Rio will return for his second season as the Raiders’ coach.
“Going into my third year, it’s nice to have the same offense,” Carr said with a chuckle. “I remember answering questions last year, and I had three head coaches within 14 months – now it’s nice to have the same message being relayed.
“When you build a program or organization, you’ve got to have consistency,” he said. “You need the same message being said, because if not, you have to relearn something.”
Carr, who recently was chosen as the 100th-best player in the NFL in a poll of his peers, said his work off the field, such as with Valley Children’s, is often most important to him.
“They’re going to take my jersey away at some point; there’s going to be a new Raiders quarterback and a ‘new Derek Carr,’ ” he said. “But I’m going to be the same person. I’m always going to be doing things that go way beyond football.”