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|Children shower Shelby's Wish with teddy bears|
Shelby's Wish recently received an unexpected surprise when nine local youth decided to spend their own money at "Build A Bear" for the organization.
Shelby's Wish was established last year to honor 8-year-old Shelby Fulton, who passed away due to a heart defect. Shelby Fulton's parents are Chris and Summer Fulton, who raise money to buy gifts, including stuffed animals and rocking chairs, for children who are hospitalized.
The Fultons were contacted not long ago by Bayou Gymnastics and were told a surprise awaited them.
"When we arrived, we were introduced to a group of nine children," Summer Fulton said. "Then we were told the real reason for our visit."
"This wonderful group of nine children participating in Bayou Gymnastics' summer program had gone on a field trip to the "Build a Bear" store at Pecanland Mall," Summer Fulton explained. "With their own money, they "built" the bears. While this is great fun, it is not an inexpensive endeavor. Children of all ages consider this a treat and they wanted to give their bears to us.
"We, on behalf of Shelby's Wish, were presented these nine bears by these nine precious children to be used in the "give a bear" program Shelby's Wish does for children hospitalized locally."
The "Build A Bear" store also donated four additional bears to the program.
"While all donations to Shelby's Wish are appreciated, words cannot express how much these bears mean to us," Summer Fulton continued. "They represent nine children who put other kids before themselves. They prove that in this fast paced, quick, drive-up society, it is most definitely not all about me."
Fulton hopes to expand Shelby's Wish into other hospitals in the future.
During Shelby Fulton's short stay at St. Francis Medical Center, her hospital room was filled with stuffed animals and toys.
Yet the Fultons noticed not every child at the hospital had a stuffed animal or toy to comfort them while in a place many children fear.
Now the Fultons raise money to purchase stuffed animals to give to children in local hospitals. Money raised during fundraisers each year is used to buy a unique stuffed bear to give to children in a hospital.
The Fultons also hope to use funding to establish a play room for children at St. Francis and other hospitals. Shelby's Wish also provides rocking chairs for children.
For more information about Shelby's Wish, contact the Fultons at 237-5373.
For a photo of the bears and the children who donated them, see Page 7A of this week's edition of The Ouachita Citizen.