BOARDMAN - Isaiah Edmiston first gazed at his eye level and looked more than 4 feet upward - eyes getting wider as they moved taller than his childlike body.
The 3-year-old Warren native was looking at San Francisco 49ers receiver Randy Moss, who stands 6-feet-4.
Moss and other 49ers were visiting with the children and their families Monday at the Akron Children's Hospital Beeghly Campus. The 49ers are in town this week to prepare for Sunday's game at the New York Jets. The 49ers are owned by Denise and John York of Boardman.
San Francisco 49ers receiver Randy Moss signs a few autographs for Nick Jordan, 12, Tyler Jordan, 12, and Cody Jordan, 6, of Niles at the Akron Children’s Hospital Beeghly Campus in Boardman. The team visited the Valley on Monday.
Photo by David Dermer
Isaiah's mother, Ann Edmiston, 25, said her son was thrilled to see the veteran NFL player.
Moss picked up Isaiah and held him slightly above his head as Isaiah couldn't stop smiling.
For Isaiah, the miracle wasn't that he saw Moss - it's the fact that the Warren boy is on his feet.
He currently is in rehabilitation at the hospital and has been there for more than a month.
Ann said there was a virus blocking some of Isaiah's nerves and wreaked havoc with Isaiah's spine and legs.
"He woke up and couldn't walk," Ann said. "Getting him back to walking, it's still hard. He's doing good."
But Isaiah wasn't the only one smiling on Monday.
Moss was visibly happy, interacting with each youngster.
"I think it's great for the soul," Moss said. "I think it's great for the mind to really be able to come to see these kids, see their parents when they're feeling down and out and put a smile on their face.
"That's what life is about is happiness and seeing other people happy. For us to come over to this children's hospital, it was a blessing for us to be here."
Moss, who grew up in Rand, W.Va., near Charleston, has done his share of charity work in his home state and other stops in his NFL career.
"We're blessed and my kids are blessed to be able to have their health and to waking up every day," Moss said. "I was asking one of my teammates if he's been in the hospital with one of his kids. He told me no. That's basically the point I was getting to that we're lucky for us to be over here, spending time with these families and these kids. That's the least we could do. I wish we could do more. It's just charity work and I'm always up for charity work - especially when it benefits the children."
One such child is 9-year-old Niles resident Tyler Platt, who has Guillain-Barre syndrome and was diagnosed in January 2011.
"Essentially it paralyzed him from his feet up to his face," said Tyler's father, Mike Platt, 37. "He was transferred from this campus to the main (in Akron). Had he been at home, they said he wouldn't have made it through the night because his respiratory system shut down. When we brought him home from Akron main, he was in a wheelchair."
But with GBS, the paralysis is only temporary.
"He had a miraculous recovery," Platt said. "He was on the baseball field in less than three months, played tackle football. They've done everything to make him feel like he was part of their family."
Things like the 49ers visit help Tyler as well, Platt said.
"Once you become part of an Akron Children's Hospital family, they treat you like you are they are your family," Platt said. "They do everything they can to make your kids feel like they're special - everything they had to go through and the reason they had to come here in the first place.
"They try to make them forget about all the bad things and give them positive reinforcement."
It is the second straight year the 49ers have visited Akron Children's Hospital.
Tyler is hoping San Francisco makes it three in a row.
"Come back again next year," he said.
If the 49ers do, include Moss.
"This makes our day to come back and see the smiles on these parents' faces," Moss said. "It shows them that we do care. It's not watered down. There's nothing fake about it because these kids are sick.
"For us to give back and spend a little bit of our time on our day off, that's the least we could do."