With the help of alumni and the community, students from the UCF College of Nursing are looking to brighten up the holiday season for local hospitalized children in the form of a cuddly panda bear.
In its second and final year, the “Give Thanks, Give a Bear” fundraiser enables the public to sponsor one – or an entire unit – of limited-edition bears wearing UCF nursing scrubs to be delivered the week following Thanksgiving to sick kids at Central Florida-area hospitals.
Sponsoring a bear starts at $50.
“These cute little bears will make a major impact for the children they comfort and ultimately, for the community by supporting future nurses and innovative research.” Mary Lou Sole, dean of UCF College of Nursing
All funds raised from the campaign help fund priority areas within the College of Nursing, including student scholarships, faculty research and medical mission trips. In 2017, the “Give a Bear, Warm a Heart” campaign distributed 225 bears to children during the week of Valentine’s Day and raised nearly $15,000.
“This heartwarming effort is one of the many ways our students are touching lives and making a difference in the local Central Florida community,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “It is exciting to expand the program this year to more regional hospitals, reaching more communities where our Knight Nurses live and provide care. These cute little bears will make a major impact for the children they comfort and ultimately, for the community by supporting future nurses and innovative research.”
This year, the campaign will double its reach — from three to six hospitals — and extend beyond Orlando to Brevard, Volusia and Flagler counties with visits scheduled for: Florida Hospital for Children, Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center, Holmes Regional Medical Center, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Parrish Medical Center.
“Similar to the bears, nurses provide compassion to patients when they face difficult times. It was a pleasure to help make a difference in a child’s life and bring a smile to their face,” says Allie Fox ’18, who delivered bears to children in 2017 and will participate again this year as an alumna and practicing nurse. “I feel privileged to partake in this wonderful fundraiser and hope it’s an even bigger success this year.”