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Phoenix Suns Gorilla visits patients and staff at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center

Go the Gorilla appeared as part of Hospital Week festivities

PHOENIX (May 10, 2022) Patients and their family members as well as staff members at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center were treated to a surprise visit from the Phoenix Suns’ mascot, Go the Gorilla.

Go the Gorilla was on site, visiting more than 50 patients and staff mostly in the pediatric unit providing laughs and countless smiles from the patients he encountered.

The lively mascot appeared as part of a series of activities planned for National Hospital Week, a week-long celebration of Banner’s patients and staff’s resiliency and dedication.

“Hospital Week is a time for us to celebrate all the fantastic people that work so hard at our hospitals,” said Wendy Pauker, associate director of Child Life Services at Banner Children’s at Banner Thunderbird. “The fact that the Phoenix Suns who are in the middle of the playoffs, made time to do this and it means so much for the patients, their families and the staff.”

This visit was arranged after the Phoenix Suns reached out to the Banner Health Foundation to do  something for the pediatric patients. Banner Thunderbird was thrilled to coordinate it in time for Hospital Week.

About Banner Health
Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the country. In addition to 30 acute-care hospitals, Banner also has an academic division, Banner – University Medicine, and a partnership with one of the world’s leading cancer programs, Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center. Banner’s array of services includes a health-insurance division, employed physician groups, outpatient surgery centers, urgent care locations, home care and hospice services, retail pharmacies, stand-alone imaging centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation, behavioral health services, a research division and a nursing registry. To make health care easier, 100% of Banner-employed doctors are available for virtual visits, and Banner operates a free 24/7 nurse line for health questions or concerns. Patients may also reserve spots at Banner Urgent Care locations and can book appointments online with many Banner-employed doctors. Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health also has locations in California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit

Banner Childrens and Thunderbird Banner Thunderbird Medical Center Pediatric

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