Charity honours memory of beloved daughter
Published Thursday, August 2, 2012 6:28PM CST
Last Updated Friday, August 3, 2012 8:38AM CST
One Regina family has taken a tragedy and turned it into something positive. They were devastated when a rare form of cancer took a beloved daughter. Now, years later, they’re moving past the pain by reaching out to others.
The Lawrence family started the Teddy Bears Anonymous charity. The organization brings joy to thousands of children in hospitals in Regina and Moosomin by bringing the young patients teddy bears.
Jan Reap lost her step-daughter Erin in 2007 to a rare form of stomach cancer. She says it was Erin’s love of stuffed animals that sparked the idea for the charity. Erin had a large stock of stuffed animals that she was saving for her future children.
"When Erin passed, we had this collection of teddy bears and we gave to the EMS. Then once the EMS were bringing the children to the hospital, the hospital started asking where did you get the teddy bears."
And from that , a partnership with Regina hospitals was born. Since then, Luke Lawrence and Jan have been making monthly trips to area hospitals, hoping to bring a smile to the face of a child patient.
Lisa Weichels son received a bear from the family. “It might seem like a small thing to some people but it’s a huge thing to a child. I took the little tag off and I put it in his keepsake box, and I hope that when he gets older maybe he'll take that teddy bear to school one day share the story and that whole idea of caring and sharing and giving, hopefully that will pay it forward too."
Right now, Teddy Bears Anonymous only runs in Regina and Moosomin, but Erin's family and friends hope to grow the charity to other Saskatchewan centers, and eventually to the new children's hospital in Saskatoon.
It’s not an easy job, but Luke says it’s a labour of love that helps get him through the tough times.
“Nothing lasts forever, and I know that, but we look back at our success and say we've given well over 28000 bears to sick children in Regina hospitals, that's 28000 children. So if it stops tomorrow we can look back and say, we made a difference.”