A cuddly friend to make a hospital stay less frightening

In Saskatchewan, Teddy Bears Anonymous helps reduce the fear factor for sick kids

For thousands of children in Saskatchewan being admitted to hospital, a teddy bear is standard procedure.

And for that reason, Teddy Bears Anonymous might just be Canada’s best-kept secret.

These 10-inch stuffed animals, which are both cuddly and sterile, have become a source of comfort for children entering the doors of the Regina General Hospital and Pasqua Hospital for nearly a decade. Teddy Bears Anonymous is currently partnered with 11 hospitals—and counting.

Operating solely on funding and volunteers, 100 per cent of donations to Teddy Bears Anonymous are returned right back into the community.

Luke Lawrence, president of Teddy Bears Anonymous, founded the organization after losing his wife and daughter to a rare form of gastric cancer. His daughter Erin, who passed away a day before her 21st birthday, had a last wish to make hospital stays less frightening for children.

“When Erin was in the hospital, I promised her I would try to make a difference,” says Lawrence.

In Regina alone, 1,250 teddy bears are delivered a month. With a recent shipment of 18,000 teddy bears to the organization in May, Teddy Bears Anonymous has some big plans for 2017 and 2018.

But what are plans without funding? The next move for the organization is to find a corporate sponsor.

Lawrence dreams of expanding Teddy Bears Anonymous beyond provincial borders, but cannot yet realize this potential. Rather than paid advertising, the organization relies heavily on social media to get the word out.

“The more awareness we create means our chance at finding a sponsor down the road is greater,” says Lawrence.

Although the organization relies heavily on donations, Teddy Bears Anonymous also participates in other community-building fundraising initiatives throughout the year.

To date, Teddy Bears Anonymous has gifted over 131,000 bears to children in Saskatchewan hospitals.

Enbridge is committed to improving quality of life in the communities near our operations and projects—including the Line 3 Replacement Program across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

In 2016, we invested more than $740,000 in community-strengthening initiatives across Saskatchewan, and our recent donation to Teddy Bears Anonymous will purchase 250 stuffed animals for sick children in Saskatchewan.

“Ambulances don’t ride like limos and hospitals can be a scary thing,” says Lawrence. “With Teddy Bears Anonymous, our aim is to make the experience overall more ‘bearable’.”