Glenda Stowell and her husband, Fred, donated 10 teddy bears to the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in 2011. After they retired, they wanted a new way to spend their time, and they liked the idea that the stuffed animals would go to children who arrived at the hospital needing something to cuddle.
Today, the CNY Bear Team that the Stowells launched has donated more than 7,500 teddy bears, puppies and other stuffed animals. The organization donates about 1,600 stuffed animals per year for pediatric surgery patients and children in treatment for cancer.
“We make them look like nurses and doctors. They’re wearing scrubs. They have a hat and face mask, and shirt and pants and two booties,” Stowell says, explaining that the scrub outfits are sewn by volunteers. Each takes about four hours to make. “The philosophy behind that was so kids wouldn’t be afraid.”
Most of the CNY Bear Team critters are from 9 to 15 inches tall. “They’re the cuddly size, the size of a baby.”
Stowell says she’s always looking for more volunteers.
Her group also accepts donations of money, fabric or sewing machines.
Find CNY Bear Team on Facebook, or contact the Stowells at CNYBearTeam@aol.com or 315-298-5308.
This article appears in the spring 2018 issue of Upstate Health magazine.