Tuesday, November 4, 2014

'Tis The Season: Bennett's Bears

I recently learned of a wonderful Christmas charity through our cousin Rebecca & her sweet husband Thomas called Bennett's Bears. With Christmas around the corner (Highland Village is ALREADY decorated) I asked Thomas if he would write a post for us about Bennett's Bears to share with everyone, so we can hopefully help them out this year.

I suppose everyone has a 'pay it forward' reason, and thank goodness we do. I didn't realize what Thomas' was and reading it made me thankful for my health, and the health of everyone in my family, especially my mommy and babies. 

Thank you for sharing your story, Thomas! Hope you all enjoy!

    Thomas, Rebecca, and their two children Madison & TJ  at Build-A-Bear Workshop, they donated 8 bears this year!        
Ok so here goes! I met Randy when I was 18 working as a bouncer at a club called Kaboom. We have worked together and have been friends for a long time. He got into the car business before me, but he quickly became a great resource for information when I got started. And while I consider Randy a friend I wouldn't say we are as close as it may appear from the outside. Or maybe as Facebook makes it seem! I guess what I am trying to say is I feel closer to him now than I ever did in the past. That may be impart because I lost my Mother from cancer at the age of 23, August 30,1998.
As a young man in my car crying like an infant one night, I swore to God that I would do something to make this terrible disease go away. I would sometimes go with my mom to chemo treatments. Her only regret was that the small children that she met might never know a life without fear of the cancer coming back. She was a grown woman with 5 kids and 13 grandchildren...still young but she had a pretty good life up to this point. I have always felt like I was blessed for the time I was able to share with both of my parents. Never did I feel cheated. But I will say that the day I found out my mom would no longer accept treatment was a very sinking feeling. Almost like that moment you realize you have wandered off from your Mom in the grocery store as a child...lost and alone. Only that's not a true comparison because you now have the knowledge that she is very sick and you can't just crawl up in her lap and be reassured that everything is going to be ok! I say this because when I try to imagine that feeling in reverse and having to hold my child's hand through all of this, well I just don't know if I am built for it.
I read and follow all of Brande and Randy Nesters posts on Facebook and anything that has to do with Bennett's Bears. This kid is stronger than 10 men! He is a warrior! He makes so many people smile! His father says he gets up and expects to see nurses and or doctors every day. You and I know that this is not normal. I know without a doubt he gets this from his parents. He has made thousands of people fall in love with him!
From what I understand of the story, Bennett was in the hospital shortly after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2011. It was during the holidays where 2 sisters who had lost their sibling a year or 2 earlier brought Bennett a Build-A-Bear. I am sure that during this traumatic time, one tiny smile was all Randy and Brande needed to see, and it came in the form of 2 angels and a Build-A-Bear! They swore that if they were lucky enough to take Bennett home they would pay it forward! Well if you know anything about Brande, then you know she doesn't do anything half way! With that and the combination of Randy being as well known and loved in Houston, Bennett's Bears was born! Because of Bennett's Bears they have managed to bring light into other families lives all while having 2 full time jobs, keeping a journal and a blog, and dealing with their young child having to face 18 plus months of chemo.
Of course the holidays are a good time to get people to be kind and generous, but 250 Bears in 2012 to 950 in 2013 is a whole different story. They had to find more hospitals to accept donations in 2013. In fact they are donating to children's hospitals in Austin this year as well. This years goal is 1700 plus Bears, and I know it can be done!
These bears are so much fun to build! If you have ever met me you will find that I am a large fairly macho-man! I have dressed and built Hello Kitty and My Little Pony bears with my kids without blinking an eye. In fact I could do it without using my children as an excuse, or cover if you will. I usually find that there is a Bear I make that I want to keep. It's funny, this year my wife Rebecca ordered a Chicago Bears uniform online for a bear to donate and one to keep for my son TJ. Now I am trying to figure out how to keep it for myself...he's not having it!
My point is, this becomes infectious in the best way! It truly isn't about how many you build and donate; because just one brings a smile to a child who has to spend the holidays in a hospital.

So please click here for the details on how to donate, and click here if you want to learn more about Bennett and his family.

Thank you again Thomas for sharing your story!
Remember, you can donate a dressed or undressed bear; I know Driscoe prefers his naked. ;)

Also, Thomas informed me that Bennett just recently went through a very traumatic but successful brain surgery to remove a large majority of the tumor in the middle of his brain. He will still need to go through chemo again in the future so their fight is not over yet. Please keep Bennett and their family in your prayers!

                                                                                           Bennett with his parents Brande & Randy & of course a Build-A-Bear.

Love, bohoBoolie

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing! I want to be a part of this!