The Facebook Love Bear Project

While I have plenty of complaints about Facebook, when it came to supporting a friend with cancer, the Facebook love bear was a blessing

A friend in need

In early 2018 a dear friend I have known since 2001 developed ovarian cancer. As a person who refuses to let anything stop her, Karen’s diagnosis and treatment did not keep her from attending and participating in the many Toastmaster clubs she belongs to, her spiritual community, and several other endeavors. Except for the wig she wore to cover her bald head, no one would know she was dealing with cancer.

After about 7 months, however, she confided in me that she felt lonely in her bed without her partner of 9 years, who passed in 2017. She missed snuggling with him.

The lights went off in my head! I recalled a woman telling me way back in the 1990s, about how she purchased a huge stuffed teddy bear shortly after her husband died to help alleviate the empty bed grief. “Of course!” I mused to myself, “I’ll get Karen a bear!”

The Hunt for a Love Bear

I hopped on Amazon and looked up stuffed bears. I finally found one I thought would be perfect. But it cost more than $100.00. Because Karen is loved by so many people, I thought I’d reach out to about 40 folks via Facebook messenger for support. This is what I wrote along with a snapshot of the bear.

Karen is still struggling with cancer. In talking with her the other day, she is trying not to be depressed. She said she misses Dick because it was nice to cuddle with him at night. That got me thinking. A friend whose “large” husband passed, got herself a big teddy bear so her bed wouldn’t feel so empty. She said it worked wonders.

I’d like to get a big teddy Bear for Karen to cuddle with. I did an extensive search on Amazon and found the one pictured here. Great reviews. Very big. Very cuddly.

It is $137.00 plus tax. I’m hoping to get 27 people to contribute $5.00 to this gift. If you wish to contribute more, that would be awesome. Obviously, everyone who contributes will be noted on the special card I’ll make for her. ”

I asked people to send money via my Paypal account and to do so as “friend and family” donation to avoid a fee. Some sent a check. Still, others used the “send money” feature that is an option on Facebook. In any event, boy, did I get money! Very few donated $5.00. Many donated $10.00 – $20.00. Some even $50.00 – $100.00!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I had more than enough money after the first three donations! I let the donations continue to come through, letting folks know this cash overflow was going to be given to Karen as financial support. 37 friends contributed to the love bear.

Love Bear Delivery

I ordered the bear and had it delivered to a friend who lives close to Karen. This was going to be a big box and I wasn’t sure it would fit in my car. Unfortunately, I was out of town at the time of the scheduled delivery. So my friend and the sweetie from whom Karen rents a room, Mike, did the honors. Karen received the 6-foot teddy bear and a gift card for over $400.00 with sheer delight. It was videotaped. With her permission, I share it below.

This is what Karen sent to me afterwards:

“What a beautiful surprise for me!
Mike and I went to Daybreak Toastmasters Meeting this morning and then to Corner Bakery. Circe said to me that she would be at Mikes house to work on his computer shortly after we arrived home. So, I laid down to take a nap and soon I heard a commotion and woke up to see Circe and Mike carrying in this gigantic teddy bear – it is half the size of my bed. They said I would enjoy cuddling with him. I agree he is soft and warm and reminds me of snuggling up to Dick’s warm neck. I miss that a lot. Then Mike gave me the card. It is so fantastic – how you made the custom card and how you got so many names of my dear friends. Then he showed me the Visa Card and I was blown away. THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES for the thoughts and support you sent me.”

Isn’t that precious? The Facebook love bear project was a success! So, with all the misgivings I have about Facebook, I am grateful that it was an easy avenue to deliver a love bear to a friend in need.