First Grader Launches Hospital Toy Drive to Help Other Children

For 7-year-old Audrey Edwards, Fuzzy Bear helped turn a bad situation into a better one.

After the first grader came to Tucson Medical Center in March to have burns treated after she was accidentally splashed by a pot of scalding water, she was given the stuffed toy. It came in her favorite color, pink, and it kept her company while she was in unfamiliar surroundings.

“It turned a very scary experience into something OK,” said her mother, Jenna Edwards, a nurse at TMC. “It gave her something to hold onto and it brought her some peace.”

Fuzzy Bear came from Andrea’s Closet, which was founded in 2002 to help bring a little cheer to small patients needing medical assistance.

Audrey brought the bear to show and tell to her school, Soleng Tom Elementary School, 10520 E. Camino Quince.

After Audrey asked her classmates to donate a toy to help keep the supplies stocked, the idea took root and spread to the whole school.  Aside from the donated gifts, she raised $250, which she used to purchase more toys.

On Monday, Audrey recruited her family members to help her lug several bags and boxes full of toys to the pediatric unit at TMC.

The amount took pediatric nurse Michele Gall by surprise. “One person brought all this!” she exclaimed, expressing even more surprise when she found out the age of the young benefactor.

“It’s like the Pay it Forward kind of thing,” Gall remarked. “And it’s great that she’s giving so much when she’s so young.”

Maureen Warwick, the director of patient care in the pediatric department, called Audrey’s efforts “amazing.”

“Having toys in Andrea’s Closet means kids don’t remember the pain of being poked, but how proud everyone was of their endurance and celebrated their strength”

Audrey said she wanted to be sure the hospital didn’t run out of toys. She gave a like amount to a hospital in Phoenix that deals with burns. She even had a chance to stock the closet herself.

Gifts, from dolls to puzzles and stuffed animals, are typically in the $5 to $10 range. If you’d like to donate to Andrea’s Closet, please call 324-1154.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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