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this is a little long; but it's a true story, and (i think) worth the read.

when i was in high school, a baby boy that i babysat for was diagnosed with a rather rare form of cancer. i can't remember the terminology now, but it was rare enough that there weren't any promising treatment plans for it at the time. it was definitely considered terminal. bennett underwent a year or two of intensive and experimental treatments, including chemotherapy -- which is a horrible experience for anyone, but especially for a toddler who doesn't understand why the miserable procedures had to be done in the first place. his parents never gave up hope, though. as christians, they had a strong belief that god would heal their child. and...he did. bennett is a healthy and extremely active 14-year-old today.

about a year after bennett was declared "in remission", my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer. while there are treatment plans for colon cancer, it is considered to be one of the more aggressive and deadly cancers; the survival rate isn't as high as, say, breast cancer or skin cancer. my mom was devastated, and practically catatonic for awhile because of fear. bennett's mom came over one day and gave her a teddybear that bennett had slept with in the hospital when he was sick. she said that she wanted to give it to my mom, to remind her that there is always hope, no matter how bad the medical odds. my mom put the bear where she could see it everyday, and slowly started to regain her strength. after completing a year of chemotherapy, my mom was also declared "in remission." she is still doing fine 11 years later.

not too long after that, my college roommate's mother was diagnosed with very advanced cancer. by the time it was diagnosed, it had already attacked several organs including her brain. doctors gave her only weeks to live. mom gave her "bennett's bear" when we first got the news, and - i can probably give you the short version: she's still alive and doing well today. she still has cancer, and receives ongoing treatment for it -- some of it very experimental -- but she has a wonderful spirit and is enjoying every minute of the years that the doctors didn't expect her to have.

another friend's mom was later diagnosed with skin cancer. mom had already passed on the bear, but i went out and bought another teddy and wrote out the history of "betsy & bennett's bear" (omitting that this was not the original), and mailed it to her. i hadn't met her yet, but i did meet her later, and she still starts crying when she tells the story about receiving the bear. (she is, of course, doing very well -- i think in remission.) she has since passed that bear, and its story, along to others.

a third cousin recently received another incarnation of bennett's bear after being diagnosed with very progressed cancer.... she is still battling it.

these bears are circling the world now, and whenever a new recipient hears the story, they really do get a renewed sense of hope. i don't think anyone truly thinks that the teddy is lucky, but when they have a real person's survival story to hang on to -- especially those that were really medical miracles -- they start to believe that their survival is not so unlikely. and studies show that optimism actually does contribute to the body's ability to heal itself.

if there are any other survivors out there who would like to pass along "bennett's bear", my mom & i certainly won't let it slip that there's some cloning going on. ;)

scolly



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Scolly,

That was awesome!!!

I did something similar many years ago when a friend of mine lost her first pregnancy.

She still has that stuffed Garfield sitting in the living room and her 3 KIDS are forbidden to touch it!!

That's just awesome!!

Jeff
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these bears are circling the world now, and whenever a new recipient hears the story, they really do get a renewed sense of hope. i don't think anyone truly thinks that the teddy is lucky, but when they have a real person's survival story to hang on to -- especially those that were really medical miracles -- they start to believe that their survival is not so unlikely. and studies show that optimism actually does contribute to the body's ability to heal itself.

Scolly,

welcome to the board.

Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mine was caught fairly early, I had good treatment, excellent care, and am in remission now.

A few months after I was diagnosed, my sister-in-law's sister was also diagnosed with the same information. Her tumor was smaller, caught earlier, and treated more easily. But the next time I saw her I gave her a stuffed bear.

She wrote me later that she had another friend who had also been diagnosed with cancer. She didn't think he would appreciate a teddy bear, so she gave him a baseball cap.

"What goes around, comes around."

I like to think that the love I put into that bear is still traveling around, from person to person.

What TheHotFool doesn't say is that he was the first person to send me a bear. And believe it or not, it has a jester's cap. I look at it every day.

Nancy
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What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing and welcome to the board!
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scolly,

As partner in a Teddy Bear "factory" I can appreciate this story. For most of us born after WWII, a stuffed aninmal, (disportionately often a T'Bear), was our first personal possession, and thus they hold a special place in both our conscious and subconscious.

We provide Teddy Bears to local first responders, (police, fire, EMTs), which have brought comfort to frightened children in many cases. And while our Bears are sold at the local hospital gift shops, we insure that anytime one might be needed in an emergency it is available "on credit".

We also provide thousands of Bears to the Salvation Army for Christmas giving at "cost".

What a neat business!

SB (Three Cheers for the Bears)
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SB - we have a yearly fund raiser sponsored by a local radio station called "The Teddy Bear Patrol" - same idea, little bears are carried in police cruisers, hwy patrol, ambulances to be given out to small children in terrifying situations.

It never fails to amaze me how such a small fuzzy inanimate object can bring such comfort. It's a neat thing - maybe they're your bears??


3blackdogs
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. And believe it or not, it has a jester's cap. I look at it every day.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What can I say, I have my moments!!!

Glad u liked it!!

Jeff
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SRHCB: <i.We provide Teddy Bears to local first responders, (police, fire, EMTs), which have brought comfort to frightened children in many cases.

When i was little, every November, my mother would have me go through my toys to donate "to the firemen".

Being a typical "minemineMINE" type of kid, i was reluctant to do so. However, i was also a big-hearted kid, prone to guilt, and when my mom told me why she wanted us to do it, i gave in.

Here were the whys:
* So much stuff wasn't played with
* Loss of Christmas presents without total and complete cooperation
* (The kicker) Thinking of a little girl like me who lost all her toys/stuffed animals/games in a fire and had NOTHING

I'm sooooooo glad she "made" us do that. I think it shaped the Elf i am today.

snippee
*sniffle*
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RE: " my mother would have me go through my toys to donate "to the firemen". "

Maybe this is what's really meant by the expression, "charity begins at home"? Your Mom was a good teacher, and you were a good student.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to meet somebody who as a child had gained comfort from a donated toy during a crisis in their life, only to find out it was the toy you had donated?

SB (a great idea for a short story!)
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Here's a listing of some T'Bear related charities:

http://www.brownielocks.com/charities.html

SB (the whole site is kind of fun!)
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