Thirty years ago I took my 6 year old daughter to the Peoria Zoo and as chance would have it one of the Peoria hospitals was holding a stuffed animal day at the Zoo. Little did I know 29 years later, the idea that I brought back to Quincy would still be flourishing. I came back to Quincy thinking that this needs to happen in our town too.  We didn’t have a zoo in Quincy, but we did have the Animal Park at the Illinois Veteran’s Home.  Armed with ideas during my drive back to Quincy, I went to work to make sure this took place in our town.  I contacted Blessing Hospital and they set me up with a meeting with the right people and “The Teddy Bear Clinic” was born.

The first few years were held at the Veteran’s Home Animal Park and then the event moved to Blessing Hospital and eventually to the campus of Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing. Every year at this time my daughter, 29 years after attending the first clinic, reminds me of that day we spent together. It’s one of those Father-Daughter events you will always remember.

This year’s event is coming up this Sunday.  Children are encouraged to dress as your favorite Disney Character and bring their favorite teddy bear, doll or stuffed animal. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to bring your child or grand child on Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. at Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing in Quincy.  Just enter through the main entrance at Blessing Hospital at 11th Street. The Teddy Bear Clinic will be held in the Auditorium of the hospital, just inside the main lobby, and those attending should enter through the Hospital’s main door.

The Teddy Bear Clinic is planned and conducted by the Blessing-Rieman Student Nurse Organization (SNO) as part of its community service commitment. The Clinic is designed to help children realize the importance of good health and overcome fears of a health check-up by conducting a check-up on their favorite doll or stuffed toy.  Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing students will interact with each child and their stuffed teddy bear as they use a stethoscope to listen to heart and lungs, apply a bandage to boo-boos and record their bear’s height and weight. Stations will also provide information on safety and poison prevention.

In addition, emergency response vehicles, including a fire truck and an ambulance, are scheduled to be on-site for children to see and Air Evac helicopter tours will be offered, if available. Refreshments will be provided by Pepsi Refreshment Services and DOT Foods.

Why not make a lifetime memory with your kids this Sunday by attending the Teddy Bear Clinic. It'll be a memory maker for you and your child.  I'm living proof of that.

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