Freemasons donate hundreds of teddy bears to hospital to aid distressed children
Taranaki has received a beary big shipment of soft toys ready to put smiles on the faces of the hospital’s youngest visitors.
On Monday, 300 teddy bears were delivered to Taranaki Base Hospital for sick or injured children who may become distressed when being treated at the emergency department (ED).
Donated by TLC Appeal (Teddies for Loving Care), funded by Freemasons, it was the first load in what would eventually be about $5000 worth of bears making their way into the arms and homes of upset children.
ED’s acting clinical nurse manager Jackie Flynn was delighted with the donation, saying they would serve as a great tool for distraction.
“It certainly makes a difference if you can distract children and get them on your side and not distressed – it helps their journey through the department,” she said.
“We can show the children on the bear if we’re going to check their heart.”
All being lightweight, sterilised and featuring safety eyes, Flynn said the teddies met the relevant health and safety standards.
TLC Appeal chair Tony Mansfield said the idea for Freemasons to donate bears to children in ED started about 15 years ago in Essex, England, when a Freemason’s wife became sick.
“A couple were in ED and the wife had a really bad attack and they got really good care and they asked ‘what can we do for the staff of ED departments,'” he said.
“And they came up with this idea.”
It has since been picked up by masonic fraternities across the world, with it first hitting New Zealand in November last year.
“We’re slowly making our way around the country,” he said.
“We’re focusing on the regional hospitals first. Everything always goes to the big hospitals first and then trickles down, so the trust made a policy decision that the regional hospitals would receive them first.”
Mansfield said the response had been overwhelming by both medical staff, families and children.
“The nurses do a fantastic job with these kids and these bears seem to help them treat the very distressed children – it’s a comfort.”
“Who doesn’t love a teddy bear?”