Penguins parade through Rady Children's Hospital - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Penguins parade through Rady Children's Hospital

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Two SeaWorld penguins visited patients at Rady Children's Hospital Tuesday.

Twelve-year-old Emma Fitzgerald needed a day like this, to act like a kid and party with penguins.

"It's pretty cool, there is a penguin here in the hallway," she said.

Emma was born a healthy child. For more than 10 years, she thrived, but just after her 11th birthday she was diagnosed with Chrohn's disease. In the past year, she's been hospitalized nine times.

"It's horrible. A lot of my friends are always like, 'Oh that has to be fun, you just get to sit in bed all day and watch TV,' but not really," she said.

Dozens of young patients lined up for personalized penguin meet-and-greets. Magellanic penguins don't need the cold to survive, so SeaWorld was happy to bring the warm weather waddlers to the patients.

"How can you not get caught up in this? It's genuine joy on their faces, you know? And not only the patients, but the parents as well," Jon Shellhammer of SeaWorld said.

Tuesday's penguin walk helps promote the Shamu and You Family Walk. The event takes place two weekends from now, and most of these children won't be able to attend.

"Oh my gosh, what a treat to meet a penguin. Who gets to meet a penguin? So I think this will be a very special day for some of the kids," Carol Damon-Scherer of Rady Children's Hospital said.

The Shamu and You Family Walk features one- and four-mile routes that wind participants around Mission Bay and parts of the SeaWorld park.

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