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Giant Stuffed Bear Surprise Brightens Patient's Stay

Gift highlights impact of Rabin Fund

Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a big difference for our patients. In this case, it was a cuddly companion that would lead to tears of joy for one woman being cared for at the hospital.

The patient had been at CVPH for more than three months by the time September rolled around. With no family in the area and no pets to keep her company, staff on the floor noticed she seemed to be quite lonely.

“We’ve all gotten very attached to her,” R5 Floor Director Holly Carter said. “We were trying everything we could think of to make her feel better.”

One thing her care team tried to do to cheer her up was take her outside for walks around the campus. One day, Carter was leading the patient through the lobby to head outside when the patient stopped at the gift shop and mentioned, “Oh, there’s my Eddy. I love him so much.”

Carter asked who the patient was referring to, and she pointed out a giant stuffed bear in the shop and talked about how much she loved him and wished she could have him.

After the walk, Carter reached out to the patient’s social worker, Laura Winfield, MSW. While Carter and her team of nurses talked about pooling money together to buy the bear, which cost about $130, Winfield contacted The Foundation.

Within a few hours, the gift shop agreed to give The Foundation a discount on the bear. The Foundation then used money from the Rabin Fund, which typically pays for comfort items like clothing, CD players, blankets, shoes, etc. for patients, to purchase the bear.

Later that day, the bear was brought  to the patient’s room. Carter said when the patient saw the bear, she yelled out, “Oh my God, Eddy,” and immediately began hugging and kissing her new companion. The moment brought a lot of tears to the eyes of everyone on the floor.

“It touched our hearts,” Carter admitted. “I was crying. The patient was sobbing. It was overwhelming. It made us feel like this is why we do this job, to bring whatever small amount of comfort that we can to patients.”

Carter said since that day, she’s noticed some improvement with the patient, who has been struggling with depressed moods. She believes the bear has offered a consistent, familiar face that the patient can see. And, it will go with her when she is able to move to an appropriate level of care outside of CVPH.

“There are so many opportunities for us as a staff to make an impact like this,” Carter said. “Knowing that The Foundation is there to provide these kinds of things and can help so quickly is huge. You just need to ask.”