Patients in Glendale hospital get cuddly teddy bears to help brighten holiday

GLENDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- People want to be with their loved ones this time of year. But when they get sick and end up in the hospital, it puts a big hamper on holiday spirits. Adventist Health Glendale Foundation is hoping some big bear "hugs" will help brighten their holidays.

Armed with a bundle of cuddly, cute bears, volunteers were greeted with smiles.

Staffers got excited because they knew patients hospitalized for the holidays would soon be receiving these furry visitors.

The Chief Medical Officer of Adventist Health Glendale, Dr. Steven Brass, delivered a Bloomingdale's Holiday Bear to 66-year-old patient Dalila Pandazos of La Crescenta. She feels so weak, she can hardly walk.

"I'm still numb and tingling," she said. But, the bear brightened up her day.

"I was shocked. It was nice of them," Pandazos said.

Brass said, "Whether it's Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving, there's unfortunately patients who are getting ill."

For the fifth year in a row, the Adventist Health Glendale Foundation, Bloomingdale's and an anonymous donor teamed up to present more than 50 holiday bears to patients who won't be home for the holidays.

"We just love the hospital. We love the volunteers and all the staff here," Courtney Saavedra, general manager of Bloomingdale's Glendale said.

Nurses identified patients who could benefit from a little extra TLC. Brass said healing is not just about the body, but about the mind and spirit.

"And it's extra difficult for patients during the holiday season because they feel removed from the family and the festivities," Brass said.

While you might think a teddy bear is only helpful to kids, such a kind gesture is healing to all ages.

"It really brings out the child in all of us," Saavedra said, "I think that it universal and I really look forward to visiting with the patients.

Even though she has to be in the hospital, Pandazos said her huggable, cuddly companion warms her heart.

"My teddy bear," she said, "It's the cutest thing."
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