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EMS teddy bears provide comfort for children

Donation helps paramedic services fill need

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Interactions between Norfolk County paramedics and young children will be a little bit sweeter thanks to a donation from a local business.

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Hauser’s Pharmacy and Home Healthcare, with locations in Simcoe (Hauser’s Mobility Services), Dunnville, Hagersville, St. Catharines and Hamilton, delivered more than 500 teddy bears to the EMS station on Culver Street in Simcoe Friday morning.

“To have a local business step up like this and offer this donation to make the lives of children in Norfolk a little bit better during a bad time, I can’t speak to how valuable that could be,” said Stuart Burnett, deputy chief of Norfolk County Paramedic Services. “It’s incredibly generous and we’re very thankful.”

Burnett said it has been several years since the service has had teddy bears in stock, adding that it’s been challenging to fit them in a budget, and to find a source for the bears.

“Anytime we’re dealing with children who are upset, sometimes a teddy bear can help them calm down and make them feel better,” he said. “Whether it’s them directly needing our care, or it’s mom or dad that might need care, it can help to ease their anxiety.”

A chance meeting between Burnett and Hauser’s Pharmacy and Home Healthcare owner Phil Hauser resulted in the donation on Friday.

“We recognize there was a bit of need in the community, certainly being able to help young victims or people paramedics come across that would benefit from the bears, really resonated with us as we’re a healthcare focused company,” Hauser noted. “Being able to be there for someone when they really need us is our mission.”

The teddy bears wear a paramedic uniform with a crest on the shoulder.

“They were designed with the idea that the child receiving it is having contact with someone from EMS,” he said. “We want to make sure that they remember that in a very positive light. Paramedics are front-line responders bar none. To be able to take (the bear) home, cuddle and sleep with it is a positive thing for us.”

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