A Calgary Hitmen teddy bear for Bennett

Bennett had an appointment at the Alberta Children’s Hospital this past Monday. From time to time we need to see a specialist there and we were meeting with his neurologist to discuss his poor sleeping habits, overall development and delayed myelination (many kids with 18q- show delayed growth of the myelin sheath that protects their nerves and increases the speed at which nerve impulses travel; an MRI has shown this to be the case with Bennett).

Toward the end of the appointment a nurse came into the room and led Bennett off to get a toy for being so good. I expected him to return with a sticker or similar but he came back holding a giant teddy bear, thanks to the Calgary Hitmen.

Bennett cuddles the bear he was given by a Calgary Hitmen player during a visit to Alberta Children's Hospital.

Bennett cuddles the bear he was given during a visit to Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Members of the major junior hockey team were at the hospital handing out teddy bears donated during the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game the night before. The annual tradition sees fans throw new teddy bears (wrapped in plastic bags) onto the ice after the team scores its first goal. This year the effort collected 21,453 stuffed bears for over 50 local charities including the Salvation Army, Calgary Women’s Emergency Shelter and Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Calgary Hitmen surrounded by teddy bears on the ice. Photo by Gavin Young, Calgary Herald.

Calgary Hitmen surrounded by teddy bears on the ice. Photo by Gavin Young, Calgary Herald.

I think it’s fantastic that events like this exist to bring sick, suffering or homeless children a smile close to Christmas. Bennett is fortunate his health is good and there will be presents under the tree this year, but to see him sporting such a huge grin after receiving a stuffie in a place that, for many kids, is associated with needles, surgery and sickness, was simply awesome. Thanks for making his day!

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