CharityNewsTeddies for Loving Care

Teddies for Loving Care Update

Roger Penny provides a timely update on Teddies for Loving Care:

From time to time, I like to remind Brethren about Teddies for Loving Care and it occurred to me that some of our newer Brethren may not even be aware of the scheme: so for the benefit of them, and for the information of all our members, here is an update on our activities.

TLC is a scheme overseen by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which provides unique teddy bears to A&E departments up and down the country. These bears are given out by the medical staff to young children to help calm them and thus assist the staff in administering the necessary treatment. TLC has become an invaluable tool for medical professionals and a great comfort to the young patients who receive the bears.

We have been operating for around twenty years and we supply every hospital in Somerset, which has an Accident & Emergency Department or a Minor Injuries Unit.

I coordinate the running of the scheme on behalf of the Provincial Executive and I am assisted by ten area reps who liaise with the nursing staff at each hospital. The hospitals contact us when they need a new supply of bears, I arrange for the bears to be sent to the area reps who deliver them to their local unit.

We also supply Somerset Hospices with “Bereavement Bears” which are used to create a bond of association between a visiting toddler and a parent or grandparent suffering a terminal illness and the bear is eventually passed on to the child as a memory of that relative.

We have an active team, discreetly working behind the scenes and making numerous visits to present the bears and I feel those Brethren are the unsung heroes who don’t get enough recognition, so here are a few stories.

New Outlet for TLC at Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton

I was recently contacted by Louise Mould from the Paediatric Pre-assessment Centre at MPH. She was aware that we have been providing bears to the A&E there for many years and she wanted to see if we could supply her unit with teddies to help them when assessing particularly anxious children for surgery. I was delighted to be able to assist and contacted Adrian Halliwell, the Taunton TLC Rep. Adrian has been supplying MPH since 2006 and since then the teddies have been adopted across the hospital, appearing on the children’s ward, in the plaster room, the outpatients’ department, and sometimes even going through the CT scanners with the children! Adrian visited to meet Louise and presented the unit with their first supply.

Nurses Louise Mould and Mollie Fry with Adrian

A Bear for Hope

Adrian also received a call from one of his fellow Brethren in Taunton whose Granddaughter had been in Bristol Children’s Hospital.  Little hope was born with a hole in her heart and suffers with Down’s Syndrome. She needed open heart surgery and then required a second operation to fit a drain to remove fluid from around her lungs. A third operation was scheduled to repair a hernia but during the pre-operative assessment they discovered an abnormality with Hope’s blood and she has been diagnosed with Leukaemia. She is now receiving a course of chemotherapy and missed Christmas and her second birthday whilst in hospital.  It transpires that the TLC scheme does not operate at Bristol Children’s Hospital, so Hope’s Grandad approached Adrian and he was delighted to present Hope with a TLC bear.

Hope with her bear

New Supplies for Somerset Hospices

We have been supplying special, orange, TLC “Bereavement Bears” to the hospices of Somerset for several years now and have recently provided new supplies for them.

Picture shows Steve Defries, TLC rep for West Mendip and Yeovil District, handing over a box of bears to Penny Moorcraft, Family Support Therapist at St Margaret’s Hospice in Yeovil. The bears are an integral part of a 2-day Bereavement course where the children are encouraged to express their grief and develop strategies to cope with their loss, whilst making new friends with other children who have suffered a similar loss. Penny said, “Thank you for these lovely Bereavement Bears, they will bring comfort to many of our young families. I’m often told by the children how much they love their teddies, and they keep them close.”

They operate a similar system at Weston Super Mare……

Picture shows Roger Penny with Jen Wakefield, Family Support Team Manager at Weston Hospicecare.

Jen’s team gives the bears to patients, where they have small children or grandchildren. The bear remains at the hospice with the patient and the child plays with it when visiting. When the patient dies, the bear is then given to the child to remind them of their relative. Jen said “The value of the TLC Bears should not be underestimated.”

A Comfort for Theo

Young Theo recently had to visit the Royal United Hospital in Bath as he was due to have an MRI scan. He had been for several scans in the past but previously had them under general anaesthetic. This was the first where he had to stay awake, and he was very nervous. Initially he was too restless and panicked, but the staff were able to give him a TLC Teddy bear which calmed and distracted him, helping to get him through the process which involved 15 minutes in the scanner, without moving. Theo was delighted with his bear and is seen here, waving it on his way home from the hospital.

Theo outside the RUH

Amelia’s Lost Bear Returns Home

I was contacted by a lady called Lottie who said that her little girl was devastated at having lost her TLC teddy.  Amelia originally received the yellow bear when she injured herself by falling over in the porch at home and had to go to West Mendip Hospital. Unfortunately, it disappeared while she was at Nursery School and it was nowhere to be found. Steve Defries, was only too pleased to visit and present Amelia with a replacement bear and she was overjoyed to receive it.

Steve, Lottie, Amelia and her little brother Harry

Wizzybugs Charity Receive a New Supply

Designability is a Bath based national charity which makes Wizzybugs, which are small colourful wheelchairs for very young disabled children.

The charity operates a loan scheme where these essential aids are provided free of charge and our link with this organisation was set up by AGM David Medlock. They use the teddies to gain trust with shy youngsters when they come to receive their Bugs. Their initial supply of bears was running out, so I visited them recently to replenish their stocks.

Roger Penny with Anna-Kate Taylor, Fundraising & Supporter Experience Executive at Designability

Editor’s footnote: permission has been given for all images and names to be published.

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