The story of a 4-year-old who lost her highly significant teddy bear has taken a positive turn. The toy, which contains a recording of her late mother's last heartbeat, was accidentally donated by her family to a Goodwill in Tazewell, Tennessee. They realized their mistake when the girl asked to bring her bear to school. At that point, the girl’s father hastily returned to store. Sadly, it was too late, and the bear had been sold. Hoping to bring it back home, the family, the store, and their local radio station WRIL launched a campaign to alert people about the teddy bear.
“We are [in] search of a [tie-dyed Build-a-Bear] that was accidentally donated. This bear is the only thing of a departed mother that a little girl has,” reads a note posted by the store. “Please, if you have it, return [it] to this store so we can reunite them. You will be reimbursed.”
The family first shared a couple of pictures of rainbow teddy bears via the radio station, but a short video later revealed the actual appearance of the missing bear. With this new piece of information, some eagle-eyed commentors spotted that the toy's exact model was a Rainbow Sparkle Bear from Build-A-Bear, potentially narrowing the search. The footage also featured audio of the heartbeat—originally captured over a year ago, making some wonder if a new bear could be made using that sound.
The news traveled far and wide, eventually reaching Build-A-Bear itself. After reaching out to the radio station for any identifying information they could use to provide a replacement, the company browsed their warehouse for a matching toy.
“The staff at Build-A-Bear were heartbroken to hear the news about the missing Rainbow Sparkle Bear,” a spokesperson from Build-A-Bear told Today. In hopes of cheering up the little girl and her family, the company announced that it will replace the bear. Most importantly, it will feature a recording of the heartbeat provided to the station by the girl's grandmother.
“While we remain hopeful that the original bear is located,” a spokesperson for Build-A-Bear has said, “it is our sincere wish that this new teddy bear will provide a bit of comfort for the child and the family at this time.”
As the search continues, the local Goodwill, WIRL, and the family have expressed their gratitude for the overwhelming support throughout this period. “We extend our gratitude to Build-A-Bear Company and WRIL Radio for their efforts in providing a matching Rainbow Sparkle bear with the heartbeat of the 4-year-old child’s late mother placed in the new bear,” said Cynthia Dodson, communications director of Goodwill in Knoxville. “Goodwill Industries-Knoxville is grateful for the outpouring of support in trying to locate the original bear that was accidentally donated. The new bear has been reunited with the family.”
The story of a 4-year-old who lost her teddy bear embedded with a recording of her late mother’s heartbeat has traveled far and wide.
The news eventually reached Build-A-Bear, who has now announced they will replace the bear. Most importantly, it will feature a recording of the heartbeat provided to the station by the girl's grandmother.