KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Thanks to a group effort between Build-A-Bear, a radio station and Goodwill, a 4-year-old Tennessee girl has received a new teddy bear with her mother’s heartbeat after her bear was lost last month.
In mid-April, the girl’s father told News 2’s sister station, WATE, that the bear belonging to his daughter was accidentally donated to a Goodwill Store in Tazewell. The girl’s mother passed away, and her grandmother made her a bear with her mom’s heartbeat in it, he explained.
Local radio station WRIL said that the father went to the Goodwill to see if the bear was still there, but it was not, so a sign was placed at the store. The radio station shared a photo of that sign and the bear on social media, which garnered national attention.
During the search for the bear, Build-A-Bear contacted WRIL for a description of the custom stuffed animal, and Public Relations Director Jamie Ludwig shared that they were heartbroken to hear about the bear, according to WRIL.
Not only did Build-A-Bear hear about the story, they had great news. Ludwig told WRIL that the team at the Build-A-Bear warehouse located a matching Rainbow Sparkle Bear and could add the original recording provided to WRIL by the girl’s grandmother to the new bear!
WRIL reports that the new bear was then shipped to the radio station and then it was given to Cynthia Dodson, communications director of Goodwill in Knoxville, who met with the girl and her father. According to WRIL, the father told them on several occasions that he was extremely grateful for the overwhelming effort put into trying to help his family.
Build-A-Bear and Goodwill are both hopeful that the original bear will be found. Ludwig added that she hopes the new bear will provide the child and family a bit of comfort, WRIL reports.
For anyone who may have found or purchased another Build-A-Bear that may have special value, there may be hope to return it to its original owner. The company says on its website that it has a Find-A-Bear ID Program to help reunite guests with their furry friends.
During the stuffing process, a barcode is placed in the bear, and guests have the opportunity at the naming station to register their bear for the Find-A-Bear ID program. The website says that if the animal is lost and returned to Build-A-Bear Workshop, its barcode can be scanned and hopefully it can be reunited with its owner.
Build-A-Bear did not immediately reply to a request for comment from News 2’s parent company, Nexstar.