Dr. T.R. Lewis is an orthopedic surgeon at Children's Hospital whose daughter, Emma, is a member of the Brownies group. He sees many young trauma patients each year.
“If they can get a gift like this, it will help them,” Lewis said. “It's a little bit scary when they wake up. Having something familiar like a stuffed animal will help them.”
Cyndi Basch, OU Medical Center Trauma Program manager, said that for several years, other volunteers helped the Trauma One Center maintain a supply of stuffed animals, but their supply of stuffed animals has dwindled. The project is a welcome development to help replenish the supply of therapeutic toys for the young patients, she said.
“It's scary coming into a hospital on a stretcher,” Basch said. “We can put a stuffed toy in bed with them and they can hold them.”
Julie Miller, leader of the Brownies group, said there is a lot of enthusiasm for the project.
“We're excited to be able to do this. It is an honor to give something back,” she said.
“We've got a bunch of go-getters and overachievers in this group. This is what they're in Girl Scouts to do.”
Avery Dunlap, 8, said she was anxious for the project to begin.
“The children will be really happy and they will have something to play with,” she said. “I'll talk to anyone I can.”
Madison Schmidt, 9, said she thinks hospital patients close to her age would welcome the presence of a stuffed toy.
“I think this is good for the kids,” she said. “It will make them feel happy.”
How to help
Corbin said launching the project during the Christmas season turned out to be a good decision.
Based on response so far, Corbin predicted the goal of 400 stuffed animals will be achieved by late January or early February.
Only new stuffed animals are being collected. They can be up to 12 inches long, “down to pocket size,” Corbin said.
For information on how to help with “Scouting for Bears,” contact Corbin at email@example.com.