Eight hundred teddy bears and other stuffed animals found a new home this week with pediatric patients at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.
This is the third year that members of the Vern Nash Car Club graciously added the teddy bear collecting to their annual summer car show.
Doris Casey, who founded the event, was there Friday to help deliver the stash of stuffed animals. She said the event has been successful every year. A retired nurse from Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, she organizes a similar event in Arizona, where she spends her winters.
The teddy bears provide comfort to hospitalized children. From demonstrating a procedure to fluffy hugs after some pokes and prods, a teddy bear can alleviate the anxiety a child may have during a hospital stay.
Even better, the hospital said in a press release, these teddy bears get to go home after discharge.
Five giant bins overflowed with teddy bears, stuffed Mickey and Minnie dolls and more. Once again, the response from the community was a generous one. Spectators offered not only donations of teddy bears, but financial donations as well.
Pediatric officials graciously accept the gift on Friday. Where will all these stuffed animals be stored?
“In nooks and crannies,” said Rachel John, senior manager of pediatrics.
All the stuffed animals will be thoroughly cleaned before they are shared with patients.
Collecting teddy bears began on July 24 when about 40 classic cars gathered at Pioneer Park to show off their vehicles. Earlier that morning, Willy and Wilma Vinton led the Anchorage-based Antique Auto Mushers of Alaska and the Model A group to the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds to participate in the reverse tour of the Golden Days Parade. Then, they joined the Vern Nash Car Club car show at Pioneer Park.
The Peoples’ Choice Award at the show went to Mark Albert, for his restored 1965 Corvette. The 50-50 Pot-o-Gold raffle drawing was won by club member Janice Culbertson.
The visiting car club was so impressed with this community project, they are considering hosting a similar project in their own hometown, according to car club member Scott Grundy.