There is something so simple, yet so symbolic about a teddy bear: a soft, cuddly companion to hold, a symbol of security and comfort.
That’s what makes the teddy bear the ideal icon for a campaign that supports pediatric patients through the purchasing of new equipment. Every year, the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) Auxiliary holds their Teddy Bear Campaign, which raises funds in support of pediatric needs at our local hospitals. Members of the public can sponsor a teddy bear, and, thanks to the partnership between the KGH Auxiliary and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 560, all funds go directly towards those pediatric department needs.
This year, the campaign will support the purchasing of new equipment for the pediatric program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC). The campaign runs from today, Monday, Nov. 12, to Friday, December 21, 2018, and aims to raise $25,000 through the sponsorship for 250 teddy bears. Each teddy bear can be sponsored for a donation of $100. With the Legion covering the cost of the bears, all donated funds will go directly to the fundraising goal.
How will the funds raised help pediatric patients? The money will be used to purchase basic but vital equipment for the pediatric program at KHSC, such as ophthalmoscopes, which are used to image the back of the eye, critical in diagnosing illnesses like brain tumours. Ophthalmoscopes are used in virtually every pediatric patient visit.
“We’re delighted to benefit from the generosity of the KGH Auxiliary and Royal Canadian Legion Branch 560,” said Stacey Wolfrom, program operational director for the Women and Children’s Program at KHSC.
“Their partnership with us helps us to deliver the best care possible for our young patients.”
Each sponsored teddy bear receives a tag acknowledging its donor(s). The bear is then placed on the festive tree in the historic Watkins Lobby at KGH, a tree that has become as much a part of the holiday season in Kingston as the Santa Claus Parade or pewter ornaments of Kingston Landmarks. But the tree and teddy bears are also a symbol of the community making a difference in local pediatric health care.
“At KHSC, we’re committed to ensuring our young patients and their families receive quality and family-centred care during their hospital stay,” said Dr. Bob Connelly, head of pediatrics at KHSC and Queen’s University.
“With generous support from the community we’re able to achieve this goal.”
But there is a whole other dimension to the campaign that makes it that much better: those who sponsor a bear receive a charitable receipt upon request, and a companion bear as a keepsake. Sponsors can then choose to donate their bear back to the hospitals, where it will be delivered to a hospitalized child during the holidays. In that sense, the campaign also makes hospital stays more comfortable for children, said Heather Breck, chair of the Teddy Bear Campaign. The sponsored bears are distributed to the pediatric departments at the KGH and Hotel Dieu Hospital sites of KHSC.
“Your donation helps children to receive a fuzzy friend when they need one most,” she said.
If you would like to sponsor a bear, contact the KGH Auxiliary at 613-549-6666 ext. 6352.