KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The pre-party to Thursday night’s Chiefs game took place for patients at Children’s Mercy Hospital on Tuesday. Kids got to meet a familiar face who once took the field with the defending Super Bowl champions

The kickoff party to celebrate the beginning of another season of Chiefs football helped lift the spirits of patients at Children’s Mercy, and meant the world to a former Chiefs player who surprised them.

Pictures were first on the itinerary with KC Wolf and Chiefs Alumni Mitchell Schwartz. 

“Hearing smiles, hearing laughter, that’s what makes it all worth it,” Schwartz said.

He’s a four-time All-Pro offensive tackle who retired from the NFL after nine years. Schwartz brought the world championship ring the Chiefs won in 2020 after beating the San Francisco 49ers.

“I don’t wear it too often in day-to-day life,” Schwartz said, “but I know people like seeing it, kids especially, so I like to bring it to events like this.”

Jeremy Stueve, 9, was in awe of the hardware and had a million questions for Schwartz. 

“Do you know Patrick Mahomes? Did you tackle Miles Scott? Did you tackle a fan?”

These patients and their families said this football party offered a timeout from the challenges they’re facing and helped brighten the day. 

“Happy, kind of excited and nauseous,” Eli Braaten said.

The 12-year-old’s appendix ruptured last week. His favorite part was meeting KC Wolf, who even signed his new football pillow.

Braaten also enjoyed taking pictures with Schwartz and checking out the ring.

“He is taller than I expected,” Braaten said.

Whether it’s through pictures, conversation or football crafts, Schwartz said his goal is to make a difference. 

“Whatever I can do to be around help spread some cheer and some joy,” Schwartz said, “The world’s a difficult place these days and I think we all got to do our part to make everyone’s day a little bit better.”

The Chiefs play the Detroit Lions Thursday night at Arrowhead. The game starts at 7:20 p.m.