We are often asked about the story of how Buddy Blankets & Bears
was started so let us take you on the journey from the very beginning...
Buddy Blankets, the making of a friendship...
The first day I accompanied my mom and dad to one of my mom’s treatments at her Oncology Hematology Treatment Center, I immediately noticed how many older people were there alone while everyone else had friends or family sitting with them. This tugged at my heart.
I saw one gentleman sitting in the corner of the treatment room proudly donning his WWII Veteran baseball cap. He was feeling the side effects of his treatment, cold and getting sick. I got a blanket from one of the nurses for him and covered him up. I sat next to this gentleman and struck up a conversation. Now keep in mind at the time I was only 8 years old. I was fascinated with the military and history of recent wars. I became fast friends with my new buddy. From that time on, I went to each treatment with my mom until she gracefully went into remission.
During that time, I went three times a week for 6 weeks with mom and sat with my "buddy", who I named "Buddy," and we would talk for hours. Each visit, I immediately went to the blanket/pillow cabinet and got Buddy a warm blanket, covered him up and settled in for an adventure Buddy would take me on with his stories.
The last treatment day for mom, I went bouncing into the treatment room excited to see Buddy only to find his treatment chair empty. Confused, I went to my favorite nurse, Jill, and inquired when Buddy will be arriving. My mom knew what must be coming and it wasn’t good but I was oblivious to the reality of cancer at the time. Buddy didn't make it to his next treatment.
I did find out later that nurse Jill and the staff received a letter of thank you for taking care of Buddy from his family living across the country. In the letter was mentioned the "little blanket boy" who brought so much joy to their dad (whose name we never did find out). Since then I have vowed every Vet , and adult, at local treatment facilities would always have a warm blanket for their treatments.
Buddy Bears, Hugs of Love...
After seeing so many families being torn apart as their loved ones who are soldiers departed to serve our country overseas, and watching some of the reactions of the children, it tore at my heart. It had such an impact on me emotionally that I wanted to reach right into the television and take the pain away from those kids being shown on the news reports. Knowing some of those shown on TV personally that have parents away from their homes, I saw firsthand the emptiness, the sadness.
Not being able to help those that were younger, I brainstormed what I could do to ease their pain. Then it hit me, having been exposed to many who were in the cancer units going through treatments, I observed the young ones with teddy bears. These bears, I noticed, brought so much comfort and even a sense of confidence along with courage in the children. I decided that is what I wanted to do… I wanted to give the warmth that teddy bears can bring to these children of soldiers leaving home. I call them Buddy Bears and started my first donation drive to collect teddy bears and money to purchase them immediately.
Tammy's Buddy Bears, Hope & Courage...
I started this branch of Buddy Bears in 2015. Tammy's Buddy Bears mission is to bring comfort and security to children who are scared during visits to the doctor/medical clinics. When you are not feeling well, facing shots and/or uncertainty of what is going to happen during a visit the kids can feel stressed which can make the experience challenging. Kids shouldn't be afraid to go to the doctors so with receiving a bear, hopefully nerves will be calm and fear put at bay.
This part of the organization serves mainly to the inner city medical clinics for those who have limited to no insurance and are in need of everyday assistance. It also serves children across the Country who are going through all kinds of illnesses and treatments.
It has been created in memory of an incredible woman, Tammy, who was in my mom’s treatment quad at their Oncology Hematology Treatment Center. My mom and Tammy became fast friends and support system throughout their treatments. Unfortunately, Tammy lost her battle to cancer in the Fall of 2015. Tammy’s compassionate ways towards others she was taking care of (Tammy was an RN at a local hospital for many years) lead me to keep her warm compassionate spirit alive within our community as well as across the Country.