Merrigum Lions Club Operation Bear

Articles and photos from the Shepparton News by Rhiannon Tuffield - Jan 03 2017

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A group of soft, shiny, new teddies are ready to help ease the trauma of being in hospital for many Goulburn Valley children.

The bears are a long-standing Lions project and the Merrigum club has donated 10 bears to the children’s ward at Goulburn Valley Health. Each year Merrigum Lions aims to raise money for multiple projects and the teddy bear initiative was one the group hoped to continue.

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GV Health Foundation director Carmel Johnson said the foundation was appreciative of the donation, which would ease children through the often difficult time in hospital.

‘‘There are children who come into hospital who often don’t have something to comfort them or they don’t have their favourite toy with them, so this is a fantastic project that Merrigum Lions has achieved,’’ Ms Johnson said.

‘‘When children are in hospital they’re in a strange situation and it’s often a traumatic time, so to be able to have a nice cuddly teddy, I’m sure, is very beneficial for them.

‘‘If a child needs some additional comfort and doesn’t have their favourite toy with them, these trauma or comfort teddies will be a great asset,’’ she said.

Merrigum Lions secretary Julie Henderson said the 10 bears would be distributed through the ward, but recipients would not necessarily be trauma affected.

‘‘They might not have come with any support and if we can help them through their first 24 hours until someone goes home to get their toy then that’s what we’ll do,’’ Ms Henderson said.

‘‘It doesn’t have to be a trauma; it doesn’t even have to be a car accident or a house fire or something dramatic; it can just be that they need something for comfort.’’

Ms Henderson said if the project was successful, the Merrigum Lions would look to buy more and eventually take the project to a zone level, where other clubs could get involved.

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