Bear Givers Presents More Than 60 Teddy Bears To Ill Children At Children’s National Medical Center, Washington D.C.

June 29, 2006, Washington, DC – During its first visit to Children’s National Medical Center, Bear Givers (formerly known as Bears 4 Kids) presented more than 60 bears to children suffering with cancer and other blood-related illnesses. The presentation, sponsored by The International Economy Magazine, also featured inspiring words by Colonel Timothy L. Walters, based at the Pentagon.

Wheeling a cart over-flowing with bears into the children’s rooms, Col. Walters, a 24-year veteran of the United States Army brought along his 17 year-old niece, Erika Walters. Erika shared her personal battle with childhood leukemia, with which she was diagnosed at age five. “Seeing the children is inspiring,” said Erika. “I don’t think of it as sad.” Erika has been in good health for the past 12 years. She stood as living proof to the children that they could face this fight and win.

“I always said that if I had an opportunity to give something back, I would,” said Col. Walters who knows first-hand the intense and hard-wrought challenges of childhood cancer, as well as the challenges of the battle-fields of Iraq. “I feel so fortunate and so thankful that my niece is here with me today. I’m grateful to be able to do this for the children.”

Bears 4 Kids Founder and President, Joseph B. Sprung said, “By giving to those who are stricken by disease, I always realize how blessed I am. When our nation is at war, there is nothing more empowering than bringing a smile to those who need it most.” Mr. Sprung is a noted financier and philanthropist. He is a resident of both New York City and Westhampton Beach, New York. “We are honored and privileged to have Col. Walters and Erika join us,” he continued.

“One mother of a newly diagnosed six-year old girl met Erika and Col. Walters and knew there was hope,” said Lynn Hardesty, manager of patient and family support for the department of hematology and oncology at Children’s National Medical Center. “She saw that girls do survive to grow up to be beautiful young women. It made everyone’s face light up.”

The International Economy Magazine was the generous corporate sponsor of Bears 4 Kids’ visit to Washington. “We are pleased and honored to lend our name to such a worthy organization,” said Angela Wilkes, managing editor of the publication. “Bears 4 Kids brings so many smiles to sick children. It’s a pleasure to be a part of this.”

Pictures from our visit in 2010

“Children from the school who give one of these bears away also get to keep one for themselves. It is a great way for students to feel good about making a difference in someone’s life.”
“Children can also be ‘benefactors.’ The program teaches children that when they do an act of kindness, they receive something in return. When children give away a teddy bear, they receive a teddy bear to take home. The principle seems quite simple, but the result is truly amazing. Children at SLCD identified charitable organizations in other states and countries. They wrote letters to the children in these other programs and sent teddy bears to ‘make other children feel better.’ Despite severe developmental disabilities, each child had something to say about giving a gift. ‘I sent my teddy bear to a little boy in Mexico. He doesn’t have parents. I have a mommy and a daddy. He must be very sad.’ Children’s insights are precious. Letters were then received from the children who received the teddy bears.”
-Long Island Press
“The feeling the children get when they take that physical bear and that card they created to someone else is very empowering.” -Joseph Sprung, Founder and CEO, Bear Givers
“This is a unique opportunity, where the clients who are often the recipients of goodwill, are now empowered to enhance the lives of others.” -Derek Saker, Director of Communications, OHEL
“I was proud to make someone happy. It made me feel good inside to help someone else.” -Taylor, Student, South Florida Jewish Academy