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Billy Bear Hug Foundation donates bears to grieving children | Community Spirit

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Billy Bear Hug Foundation donates bears to grieving children
Billy Bear Hug Foundation donates bears to grieving children

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –    A nonprofit organization is making sure every child involved in Gilda’s Club’s support groups has something to hug.

Thursday, the Billy Bear Hug Foundation donated 150 teddy bears to every child who takes part in Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids’ grief and cancer support groups.

 “This generous donation from Billy Bear Hug Foundation will bring a smile to the face of hundreds of children,” said Wendy Wigger, president of GCGR. “Something as simple as a teddy bear can make all the difference to a child. Here at Gilda’s Club, we work to bring the children the best care possible and as an organization run entirely on donations, we are excited to receive this gift. We look forward to a great relationship and partnership with the Billy Bear Hug Foundation for years to come.”

So far this year, nearly 300 children have taken part in GCGR’s free support programs, which provide a social and emotional foundation through activities, discussion and playtime. 

 “Our foundation is geared towards bringing joy and comfort to children, which is in line with Gilda’s Club’s goals and mission. We look forward to providing the cure of comfort to these children,” said BBH co-founder, Charlie Wondergem.

BBHF was created in memory of Billy Wondergem, who unexpectedly died in 2010 while working on a career in pediatric oncology. So far, the nonprofit organization has donated more than 800 “Billy” bears to children.  BBHF plans to continue supplying bears to GCGR on an ongoing basis.

GCGR opened in 2001 and is named for the late Saturday Night Live comedian, Gilda Radner. It is the largest and busiest of 52 affiliate clubs in North America. Each year, GCGR serves more than 10,000 individuals from 33 counties in Michigan. 

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