A Bear That Cares

I was recently invited to attend the Myositis Support Group's 25th Anniversary Conference and Gala Dinner in Oxford because of my involvement in creating their mascot, Teddy-Bo. 

When we arrived we were greeted by an enormous curved display panel covered with photographs of the charity's 25 year history, and many of them also featured Teddy-Bo. Not only were many children clutching him in the pictures, but so were celebrities who have offered their support, such as Carol Vorderman and Joe Pasquale.

Teddy-Bo was created to be featured in a children's book that details the children's version of Myositis, known as Juvenile Dermatomyositis (JDM). The aim was to follow Teddy-Bo's diagnosis and treatment so children with the condition, and their families and friends, could understand better what was happening and where it was taking them. The writing of the story involved meetings with the parents of JDM children, the charity, and consultants at Great Ormond Street Hospital to ensure I got my facts straight and the details of the pictures correct. A soft toy of Teddy-Bo was also created and every child diagnosed with the condition is given a book and a bear.

What was particularly nice about the conference was seeing JDM children holding, hugging and loving their Teddy-Bo bears. They all knew who he was, and what we was going through, directly relating their own problems through Teddy-Bo. One particular boy never let his toy out of his sight and told me that Teddy-Bo had an an illness and needed lots of hugs, which he then demonstrated.

Below is a photo taken during the conference in one of the break-out rooms where some of the children and parents were listening to a presentation on the developments in treating their particular type of myositis. You can just about make out some cuddly Teddy-Bo's with their loving owners.

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