Charlottesville siblings distribute 500 teddy bears to UVA Children’s Hospital
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Two Charlottesville children living with a rare genetic kidney disease are giving back and cheering up kids going through similar treatments at UVA Children’s Hospital.
Ten-year-old Lofton Graves and her little brother Thatcher Graves noticed that some kids in the hospital needed a pick-me-up while in care. They stepped up to the plate and started a nonprofit called KB Bears, distributing hundreds of teddy bears to children their own age.
“It makes me feel really excited and happy and like I’m doing something to help them, and that makes me feel really happy,” Lofton Graves said.
Lofton might only be 10 years old, but she jumped at the chance to make UVA Children’s Hospital a better place. It all started when she was in the hospital getting an IV treatment and noticed another little girl getting one too.
“I noticed she only had her babysitter with her so that made me kind of sad because it’s helpful to have your parents with you, because they hurt a lot,” Lofton said.
“The treatments are about three to four hours long,” Mother Tori Graves said. “When we got home that day she said, ‘Mom, did you see that little girl, you know, with the babysitter?’ and she said ‘I want to do something, I want to give back.”
That is how her nonprofit, KB Bears, was born. Thanks to Lofton’s idea, every child will have something soft and warm to hold when going through treatment.
“I decided I wanted to do something so I made bears to give to the kids when they were getting IVs at the hospital,” she said. “Whenever I’m in the hospital, I always like to have my stuffed animals with me.”
“We talked about kind of what makes her feel better and we talked about stuffed animals and so she decided to do a bear, and came up with the whole design herself,” Tori said.
Build-A-Bear made the first 500 bears for free. Lofton and Thatcher’s doctors are also stepping up to help distribute them.
“I’ve been coming here ever since I was about three years old,” Lofton said. “I’ve gotten really close to my doctor’s from all my doctor’s appointments and seeing them a lot.”
Tori Graves says she beams with pride knowing that her kids turned their trials into something bigger that will put smiles on kids faces for years to come.
“I’m just super proud of these guys,” she said. “They took a situation of going through their own kind of challenges, and they’ve decided to make something really amazing out of it and give back so I’m super proud.”
KB Bears is hosting a music festival this weekend at Misty Mountain Campground to help raise money to make more bears for kids going through treatments at the hospital.
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