Meet the Woman Comforting Most cancers Sufferers with Teddy Bears


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Oct. 11, 2022 – Through the early days of the pandemic, Alivia Gustman, then simply 8 years outdated, was in a category tasked with the purpose of beginning a enterprise.

For Gustman, this wasn’t the time to pitch a bake sale. As an alternative, having not too long ago watched her mother undergo breast most cancers therapy, an thought instantly popped into her thoughts: Why not promote teddy bears to boost cash to assist youngsters with most cancers — or to anybody whose family members are in therapy?

After doing a digital pitch to her Boca Raton, FL, instructor and classmates, the concept broadened when her dad jumped on board and helped construct a web site and safe a trademark.

The consequence: A family-run undertaking and the launch of Most cancers Bears, a nonprofit that has already offered greater than 1,000 bears in over 30 states and overseas.

Better of all: Because of all of those bears being despatched throughout the nation (and globe), Most cancers Bears has raised $30,000 so far and donated these funds to most cancers facilities throughout the nation. The truth is, since they began the group, they’ve arrange donation partnerships with Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Joe DiMaggio Kids’s Hospital, and NYU Langone Perlmutter Most cancers Heart – all areas that performed a job in serving to Alivia’s mother – and shaped an alliance with Keaton’s Baby Care Alliance, a nonprofit that gives help providers to households dealing with a pediatric most cancers prognosis.

So how did a then-third grader make all of this occur?

“Understanding that my mother could be OK motivated me,” says Gustman, now a really busy fifth grader who turns 10 on Oct. 16. “I wished anyone going by therapy to have the ability to maintain onto one thing. I assumed a bear could be the proper factor to cuddle with.” 

For Tara Gustman, Alivia’s mother, serving to others is within the household DNA.

“This was such a easy act of kindness that occurred throughout digital faculty and proper after I was getting again on my ft once more,” says Tara, who was identified with stage II breast most cancers in December 2018 and went by a double mastectomy, the elimination of 12 lymph nodes, 16 rounds of chemo, and seven weeks of radiation. She’s now been in remission for 4 years.

“The suggestions that we get from everyone is exceptional. We will’t wait to proceed to make a distinction to these in want.”

And, whereas Alivia admits that she’s busy with schoolwork– it’s all about time administration, she says – there’s nothing higher than seeing the entire bears lined up and able to be shipped out of her (and her grandparents’) storage.


Not too long ago, Alivia and her sister, Savannah, 8, have gotten very busy attaching ribbons to every bear earlier than it’s shipped.

“You may request the ribbon for the individual’s most cancers – so teal for ovarian, yellow for childhood most cancers, and pink for breast most cancers,” she says. “My sister is de facto good at organizing the ribbons.”

Finally, that is one household that’s laser-focused on serving to others.

“Each 2 minutes, somebody is identified with breast most cancers within the U.S. and, whereas that’s unlucky, what we’re doing retains our complete household motivated,” says Tara. “We’ve turn into a useful resource of encouragement within the type of bears and dialog with individuals in our group. Fortunately, Alivia’s story retains getting shared, and the extra individuals find out about us, the extra we might help others.” 

Ask Alivia and she or he’ll inform you that being a child ought to by no means be a barrier to rolling up your sleeves.

“Personally, I’d inform different youngsters to observe their goals,” she says. “If one thing motivates you to assist others – do it.”

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