Teddy bears donated to kids at Mission Children’s Hospital on Valentine’s Day

With love: Since Madeline "Maddie" Jones died in a car crash in December, her mother Kristie Worley(pictured above) has received hundreds of teddy bears in her 3-year-old daughter's memory. Photo courtesy of Mission Health

On Valentine's Day, a host of teddy bears found a good home when Kristie Worley donated them to the pediatric unit at Mission Children's Hospital.

Last December, her daughter, Madeline "Maddie" Jones, died in a car crash. The community responded and Worley received hundreds of teddy bears in her 3-year-old's memory.

“We want to bring hope and laughter to each and every child at Mission Children’s Hospital,” said Maddie’s aunt, Kim Metcalf, in a statement issued on behalf of the family. “Although the loss of Maddie was tragic and our hearts are broken without her, we want this to be a positive and happy event to honor her memory. We want to focus on the good that will come because of the impression she left on those who knew and loved her. I can’t think of a better way to honor the memory of my beautiful niece than to brighten the lives of others, just as Maddie did for us.”

When Jones died, Worley and the family requested balloons and teddy bears in lieu of flowers to celebrate Maddie’s life and to reflect her spirit. After an outpouring of donations from family, friends and the community, Worley said she initiated “Teddies for Maddie” to thank the dedicated hospital staff who helped her during a tragic loss and to honor Maddie by bringing joy to other children at the hospital.

“Every child deserves to know they’re special. The teddy bears will mean so much to the children in our pediatrics unit, especially on Valentine’s Day,” said Susan Mims, vice president and medical director of Mission Children’s Hospital. “Our hearts go out to Maddie’s family. We are honored to receive this special donation in Maddie’s name that will touch the lives of our patients and their families.”

Teddy bears can be donated year-round to Asheville Radiology at 534 Biltmore Ave., or to The Vein Specialists of Carolina Vascular at 1091 Hendersonville Road, Suite 101. Plans are under way to make “Teddies for Maddie” an annual Valentine’s Day event at Mission Children’s Hospital.

Send your health-and-wellness news and tips to Caitlin Byrd at cbyrd@mountainx.com or mxhealth@mountainx.com, or call 251-1333, ext. 140.

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