Each child admitted into hospital in Saskatoon is presented with a teddy bear to make them feel better. The bears come from Teddy Bears Anonymous, a registered Canadian charity that operates 100 per cent by volunteers, and supplies bears to seven Saskatchewan hospitals.

Registration staff at the three Saskatoon hospitals get to see first-hand how presenting a child with a teddy bear when they come into the hospital can help them cope with their situation.

“We’re the team that presents the teddy bears to children,” said Joe Bichel, Regional Manager of Patient Flow and Navigation for Saskatoon Health Region. “Often they are scared and apprehensive,” he said of the children, “so it’s nice to provide them with a bear to alleviate that, if just for a moment.”

That’s why they believe so strongly in the work of Teddy Bears Anonymous; so strongly, in fact, that Registration department staff handed over a cheque for $19,343 to the organization on December 11, almost double the amount the staff members raised last year for the charity.

A group stands with a large cheque

Registration staff from Royal University Hospital present a cheque for nearly $20,000 to Teddy Bears Anonymous on behalf of the Saskatoon Health Region.

Luke and Jan Lawrence of Teddy Bears Anonymous were overwhelmed by the donation, which was presented in a short ceremony at Royal University Hospital.

“I’m flatlined here,” Luke stated. “Saskatoon Health Region should be very proud of what they’ve done. This is amazing. What a partnership. We salute the heck out of you.”

“I’m so proud of the registration team, and the work they’ve done to raise this money,” Bichel said.

Efforts to raise the money varied from the very simple – putting up donation jars at registration desks with an explanation of what Teddy Bears Anonymous does – to the ambitious – holding bake sales, raffles and auctions at each of the three facilities, and even co-hosting a barbecue with the Saskatoon Stonebridge Co-op earlier this year.

One staff member’s young daughter, Shantara Harder, even took it upon herself to fundraise for the charity, and gathered together $400 from neighbours, family and friends.  She also donated it to Teddy Bears Anonymous on December 11.