Comedian Gives a Dose of Fun to Young Patients at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

Lloyd Damon, MD, Rob Schneider and Nancy Gamble at UCSF.

Nancy Gamble, who was treated at the UCSF Medical Center for Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia which is now in remission, has pledged $1 million to the adult Hematopoietic Malignancies program. Gamble greets Lloyd Damon, MD, professor of hematology/oncology, at UCSF on July 20 while her friend actor Rob Schneider looks on.

 

“You can do it!” is the famous line Emmy-nominated actor Rob Schneider has uttered in more than five hit movies, but it took on a new significance when the comedian visited patients at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital on Wednesday.

Schneider spoke with patients and parents both in the hospital playroom and at the bedside, taking photographs and signing “You can do it” posters while warmly chatting about making movies, favorite comedians and his often co-star Adam Sandler.

Rob Schneider and Felicity

Actor Rob Schneider chats with Felicity, one of several patients he visited at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

“I’m actually hugging Rob Schneider right now!” said Felicity, 12, as she smiled and straightened her Justin Bieber T-shirt for a photo. “I watch all your movies.”  

Patient Nathan Lee, who was also celebrating his 11th birthday, won a life-sized pony which was raffled by Wells Fargo.

While Schneider was the Hollywood celebrity on hand at the visit, the true star was his close friend Nancy Gamble, who was treated at the UCSF Medical Center for Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APML). Gamble, who is now in remission, has pledged $1 million to the adult Hematopoietic Malignancies (Heme) program and hopes to strengthen her relationship with the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and its pediatric leukemia care.

Following their visit with the young patients, pediatric cancer specialists Mignon Loh, MD, and Katherine Matthay, MD, showed Gamble and Schneider around several research labs including that of Jennifer Puck, MD, a pioneering researcher in severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID).  Gamble also returned to the oncology ward where she was treated, embracing doctors and nurses and addressing patients with a message of hope.

“APML 15 years ago was a death sentence,” said Gamble. “But thanks to all of the research and prayers I am standing here and forever indebted to UCSF and all you do. Dr. [Lloyd] Damon gave me hope when mine was gone. Coming to UCSF for me was the best decision I ever made. You truly can do it.”  

Rob Schneider visits Diego

Comedian Rob Schneider also stopped by the bedside of Diego, who was comforted by his mother, Jessica, at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Photos by Cindy Chew