Teddies for Loving Care
Teddies for Loving Care is a Charity for the beneﬁt of distressed sick children, visiting Emergency Departments in Hospitals throughout the island of Ireland. The Charity is administered by The Freemasons of Ireland and supported by voluntary donations that are used to purchase teddy bears. These are distributed to hospitals to be given, at the discretion of the medical and nursing staff, to children in their care who are in distress and who the staff feel will benefit from something other than their pain to focus on and assist the staff in their important work.
The TLC Appeal originated after an allergic reaction suddenly caused the swelling and blocking of the windpipe of the wife of a Freemason. Her life was saved by the rapid action of the medical staff at an emergency unit, who were able to resuscitate and stabilise her. They were both eternally grateful for the swift and caring attention that she received but found the experience the most frightening of their lives and speculated on the distress that children must face when visiting Emergency Departments.
The idea of doing something useful for medical staff at emergency units was discussed with other local Freemasons, and from that point the compulsive idea of “Teddies for Loving Care” was born. The Appeal was launched in Essex in 2001. To date 2,500,000 teddies have been delivered in England and Wales.
Launched in Ireland in 2013 and to date we have delivered 160,000 teddies to 36 hospitals on the island of Ireland.
Today teddies are being delivered to hospitals in Cyprus, England, Hong Kong, Ireland, Malta, New York, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.
Not every child visiting an Emergency Department will receive a teddy bear. The medical staff use their discretion and will give a bear to a child that is suffering particularly from trauma, injury or illness. They use the bears to befriend the children, to reward them for being brave and in some cases to demonstrate what they are going to do.
A young child in hospital can have a profound impact on the parents and again the presence of a teddy with that child can have a positive impact on the parents.
Medical Staff Perspective
It is hard for me to explain the effect these wonderful teddies have within an Emergency Department because the only way we can measure their success is by the change in the child’s emotions. It is no exaggeration to say that a child’s mood and overall perception of their treatment can be completely changed for the better by using the teddies and speaking personally, it truly is a pleasure to watch.
It’s amazing. Something that seems so trivial to us “grown-ups” can have such an impact on a youngster and this wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the generosity of the Freemasons.
One Emergency Nurse said, “I cannot remember how we used to cope before the Teddies. I hope that you can continue to supply them for a long time”
Another said, “It’s not just a teddy, it’s so much more.”