Hi! My name is Oliver and I’ve been a volunteer teddy bear for 18 years at the Hope Center at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. The Hope Center offers supportive care at no charge to patients and families that are going through tough times.
In 1996 I met a young man in the hospital named Bobby. He lived with HIV, juvenile diabetes, and kidney disease. He said everyone needs hope, no matter what kind of medical problem they have. That’s when I became his friend and the first Hope Center volunteer. Then they named their volunteer Care Team after me!
Maybe you can use a little hope too. We can be friends for life if you’ll have me. I’m not much trouble at all except I fall out of bed a lot. The only thing I really need is to be hugged now and then because sometimes I get depressed and even I need hope!
My favorite foods are jelly beans and peanut butter. I like to ride on IV poles, Harley motorcycles and also cuddle and watch television. My best friend is Twinkles—she’s a butterfly—and she likes to sit on my nose and tell me secrets when I’m not volunteering.
Just so you know about my training and experience— I am honored to be a permanent part of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. I have volunteered all over Tennessee and I went to Florida, Kansas, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Canada, London, Hawaii, and Australia too. I went off to college with a very special friend; she & I educated others and hopefully, eliminated fear & stigma. Plus, I traveled to California to talk with first-graders who were learning how children and adults living with serious illnesses can still have hope—because … Hope is the Belief in Possibilities!
Oliver A. Bear