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Bringing comfort to the smallest patients one teddy bear at a time

A new partnership between Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation and Teddy Bears Anonymous is helping provide a sense of comfort to children receiving medical care across the province.

The Foundation has donated $100,000 to Teddy Bears Anonymous to help distribute teddy bears to pediatric patients in hospitals, as well as to EMS and first responder services in urban and rural Saskatchewan.

For young patients, just like for Blake Dunville from Wakaw, the small gift of a teddy bear can make a big impact when spending time in hospital. The seven-year-old has already undergone eleven surgeries and to help bring some comfort to the procedures, he’s had a bear from Teddy Bears Anonymous close by his side.

“The bears have really helped calm him down before surgeries,” said Blake’s mom, Kristal Dunville.

During his most recent surgery in January, Blake was admitted to Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital and was very excited to receive a special panda bear, which happens to be his favourite animal.

“This surgery he had a lot of anxiety and having the teddy bear there really helped calm him down and he squeezed the teddy bear while he was being put to sleep. When he was waking up, knowing the bear was right there beside him helped ease him until I was able to get to the room,” explained Kristal.

Blake is recovering well and has added the panda to his collection of bears, each serving as a symbol of his strength and courage to overcome each operation.

Teddy Bears Anonymous has gifted more than 156,000 teddy bears to sick children throughout the province since its inception more than a decade ago. To ensure health and safety, each of the bears are sterile and sealed from the manufacturer for infection control, allowing a child to even take the bear into surgery.

Teddy Bears Anonymous currently works with 13 hospitals and more than 20 EMS outlets around the province, with potential to expand to more facilities in the future.

“Teddy Bears Anonymous is proud to partner with Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. This partnership helps us make each day special by helping us provide the gift of a teddy bear for a sick child,” said Luke Lawrence, Teddy Bears Anonymous president.

Luke Lawrence, Teddy Bears Anonymous president

Lawrence founded Teddy Bears Anonymous in 2008 after his daughter Erin sadly passed away from a rare form of gastric cancer. To continue his daughter’s legacy, Lawrence made it his goal to continue on the love she had for life and her compassion for sick children.

“A sometimes frightening hospital visit can be changed into a much more comforting and positive experience, as a sense of normalcy and peace is brought to a child when they receive one of our teddy bears,” said Lawrence.

The two provincial organizations will closely work together over the next four years, to help in providing a positive experience for children accessing health care services across Saskatchewan.

“Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation is thrilled to partner with Teddy Bears Anonymous to continue furthering our vision of provincial connectivity and care regardless of postal code,” said Brynn Boback-Lane, president and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This partnership proves that even the smallest gesture can go a long way in brightening a child’s day. We are grateful that through your generosity, both our organizations can give the gift of a teddy bear for sick children in hospitals across the province.”

 

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