Moments after three-year-old Carter Stather woke up from surgery, a brand new teddy bear was placed into his arms, and a new friendship was born.

“He immediately lit up,” said Roxanne Stather, Carter’s mother. “This was a very overwhelming experience for him, but this teddy bear took away so much of his anxiety and fear.”

On October 7, Carter visited Markham Stouffville Hospital (MSH) for his first ever surgical experience with the removal of his tonsils and adenoids. That day, he also became the first recipient of the MSH Foundation’s brand new “Buy a Bear” program. This highly personalized fundraising initiative delivers donated teddy bears to children who are forced to spend their holiday season in hospital beds. Those who choose to donate will receive a photo of the child with their bear, a personalized note, and a tax receipt.

“It’s a wonderful program that helps children feel truly comforted when in the hospital and out of their typical environments,” said Julie Atkinson, Child Life Specialist, MSH.

These cuddly teddy bears are $50 and can be purchased online as part of the foundation’s recently launched “Bear Essentials” catalogue. The catalogue allows members of the community to help provide lifesaving medical equipment and support that government funding doesn’t cover.

“We truly hope this program takes off so that children and families who visit our hospital know how much they are thought of by our community—not just during the holidays, but always,” said Tracy Clegg, the MSHF’s director of donor relations.

Clegg says the program will help MSH go that extra mile for its patients and families like the Stathers.

According to Roxanne, Carter has been taking Buddy the Bear to bed with him every night, which has helped ease his obstructive sleep routine.

“What young child wants to be woken from their sleep constantly for medication or to get their temperature taken?” she asked. “When Carter wakes up I give him his medication and take his temperature, he then gives Buddy his medication, takes his temperature and offers him a nice cool drink.”

“This bear has helped Carter through this, and we cannot thank the hospital team enough! Buddy will be part of my son’s life for a long time to come.”

To buy a bear for a child at Markham Stouffville Hospital visit lifesavinggifts.ca or call 905-427-7373 ext. 6341

**Caption: Carter Stather cuddles donated teddy bear as part of MSH Foundation’s new “Buy a Bear” program.

 

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