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6/21/12: Appreciation Luncheon Celebrates Emerson Hospital Teddy Bear Makers

Did you know that last year, 1,043 teddy bears — an all-time record — were made by the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary for distribution by the Pediatric Intervention Team throughout the hospital? And this year, bear makers are sure to exceed that amount!

Emerson’s Pediatric Intervention Team — which consists of two child life specialists, a child/adolescent psychiatric nurse and a consulting child psychiatrist — recognizes the unique psychosocial needs of hospitalized children and their families. Through careful preparation and continuing support, the team aims to minimize a child’s anxiety in the health care environment and promote opportunities for growth and mastery of the hospital experience. Since November 2005, the group has distributed more than 20,000 “coping kits” containing therapeutic toys and a teddy bear. Color-coded for age and gender, the kits are designed with an understanding of the developmental needs of children and the stressors encountered by a child entering a medical environment.

On May 11, 2012, an appreciation luncheon was held for the 60 bear makers who have so generously donated their time and talent to making teddy bears for children who enter the Emergency Department, arrive for day surgery or get admitted to the hospital.

Wilma Johnson and Carol Wipper, co-chairs of the Auxiliary’s Teddy Bear Program, thanked the bear makers and let them know how appreciative children are upon receiving them. Every single bear that is donated in a given year is actually handed to a child at Emerson—so the need for bears is never-ending, ongoing and truly valued.

During the luncheon, Christine Schuster, president and CEO of Emerson Hospital, gave a brief update on the hospital. Also, Cheryl DiPaolo, RN, director of care management, gave a talk about the Care Management team and efforts to join with the hospital medicine program and community partners to develop a more integrated care delivery system.

A special thank you was extended to Anya Melesciuc, a high school senior from Wrentham who has made 100 bears each of the last five years. Karen Maines, president of the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary, presented Anya with flowers, a teddy bear and a monetary gift from the Auxiliary. Anya will be leaving the area to study nursing at college in Hawaii, but hopes to continue making bears in her spare time.

Thanks were also given to additional bear makers in Quilter’s Way in Concord, the Brightview assisted-living facility in Billerica, Girl Scout troops, schools and other groups.

Volunteers are relied on to help assemble the teddy bears, as well as provide donations to fill them. Anyone interested in helping with the Teddy Bear Program should contact Wilma Johnson at wilmawjohnson@verizon.net or Carol Wipper at carol@wipper.com.

Caption: Pictured, left to right: Karen Maines, president of the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary, presents high school senior Anya Melesciuc of Wrentham with flowers, a teddy bear and a monetary gift in appreciation for making 100 teddy bears each of the past five years for hospital-wide distribution by the Pediatric Intervention Team. Anya will study nursing at college in Hawaii, but hopes to continue making bears in her spare time.

Emerson Hospital is a multi-site health system headquartered in Concord, Mass., with additional facilities in Sudbury, Groton, and Westford. The 179-bed hospital provides advanced medical services to more than 300,000 individuals in 25 towns. To learn more, visit www.emersonhospital.org.

The Emerson Hospital Auxiliary supports Emerson through increased community awareness, health-related education, and fundraising initiatives. Over the past decade, the Auxiliary’s fundraising efforts have helped to raise more than $2.4M for hospital equipment, facilities, and services. For more information about the Emerson Hospital Auxiliary, visit www.emersonhospital.org