By Regina Arnold
During her reign as Mrs. Nevada-America 2010, Susie Monahan founded Project Teddy, named after a close friend she lost 11 years ago to leukemia, Ted Priestly. He spent many long hours in the hospital, and Monahan would always try to bring him something to lift his spirits. “He’s the motivation behind all of this, so his legacy can live on,” Monahan said.
She wanted to take this same idea and do it for local kids. The purpose of Project Teddy is to raise the spirits of hospitalized children going through endless treatments and chemotherapy. “Project Teddy is different because it is a feel-good charity,” Monahan said. Since Monahan’s daughter loves Build-A-Bear, she figured other children would love it too. By bringing a Build-A-Bear Workshop to a child’s hospital room, they get to create a friend to carry with them through their chemotherapy.
“The kids are responding so well to this. Being in a hospital all day is not always the most cheerful of times, but when we bring these bears into the room it changes the environment and the mood. It takes their mind off what they are going through for a short time,” Monahan said. The parents are also very supportive of Project Teddy. It is the acknowledgement that people care and the kids don’t have to go through this alone.
Monahan can see the difference this charity is making. It makes the kids feel good and the parents feel good. She has also noticed more people stepping up to help with fundraising. On May 15th Monahan held a fundraiser called Bowl for Teddy at Sunset Station. Local celebrities were involved to help raise money for the Project Teddy Fund.
To learn more about Project Teddy or how you can help, please visit projectteddy.com.