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UC Davis Medical Center

UC Davis Medical Center

FEATURE | Posted Feb. 14, 2014

Teddy bear surprise for patients

Build-a-Bear Workshop visits UC Davis Children's Hospital

Patient Elizabeth Herrera © UC Regents
Elizabeth Herrera carefully inspects the colorful stuffed animals for adoption.

Elizabeth Herrera, 8, edged into the playroom, moving slowly with her IV pole beside her. She had her sights set on one destination: a large cart filled with stuffed bears, lions, elephants and Hello Kitty dolls, waiting for adoption.

After much deliberation, Herrera reached for a fluffy, caramel colored bear, stared into its eyes and held it tight. She had made a new friend.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital patients like Herrera had the chance to choose a new a furry friend at the Build-a-Bear Workshop event this month, thanks to one patient’s dad.  

Photograph of Jason Love“My wife, my daughter and I had the chance to visit Build-a-Bear Workshop in Roseville a couple months ago, and we thought it was such an emotional and wonderful experience. We wanted to give that to all of the kids at the hospital.”
— Jason Love

“My wife, my daughter and I had the chance to visit Build-a-Bear Workshop in Roseville a couple months ago, and we thought it was such an emotional and wonderful experience. We wanted to give that to all of the kids at the hospital,” said Jason Love, whose daughter, Emily, is a pediatric cancer patient at UC Davis.

Within a week, Love helped to raise over $1,800 through Crowdtilt.com, an online group funding website, which was enough to pay for stuffed animals, hearts and accessories for all patients in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Pediatrics Unit.

With help from Build-a-Bear Workshop in Roseville and Children’s Miracle Network Business Development Council member Trisha Pickerel, he made his dream come true: he brought the event to the hospital for the kids to enjoy, just in time for Valentine’s Day and on UC Davis Wears Red Day, a campus-wide campaign to promote heart disease prevention.

Medical student sewing bear © UC Regents
Sarah Walker, a 4th-year medical student, sutures a bear for a waiting young patient.

Build-a-Bear staff helped kids choose a heart (satin hearts and battery-operated beating hearts were both up for grabs!) and led the heart ceremony, which included making a wish upon the heart, before tucking the heart inside their animal.

Video of UC Davis Children's Hospital patients
receiving colorful stuff animals

UC Davis medical students then sutured up animals on small surgical tables, before sending them on to the photo booth area, where kids could take a snapshot with their newfound friends.

“It was a sweet event and a great activity for the kids in our hospital,” said Diana Sundberg, manager of Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy. “We loved seeing all of the smiles on the kids’ faces when they cuddled with their new stuffed animals. Thanks to everyone who made this event possible for our kids.”