Ben Thorne, a fourth-grader from Avon, turned 10 on Sept. 11, and like most children he wanted something for his birthday. Unlike most children though, Ben didn’t want something for himself, he wanted gifts for others.
So instead of presents, he asked friends and family member to give him teddy bears that could be donated to children at Fairview Hospital.
“I wanted to do something nice,” the fourth grader at Avon’s Heritage South Elementary School, said. “I didn’t want any presents. I decided to donate to the hospital and they said ‘bring in bears.’”
Ben’s mother, Erin Thorne, said she and her husband John are proud of their son.
“It was such a kind hearted thing to do,” Erin said. “That’s the kind of kid he is. He’s often worried about another people; this is in alignment with the kind of boy he is.”
Erin said the collection of bears started small, with a few friends invited to a birthday outing.
“For his birthday, he had a few friends go to the movies,” Erin said.
Those friends brought bears to donate and Erin and John’s son named the project “Ben’s Bears.”
Friends, relatives and neighbors began bringing bears and other stuffed animals of all sizes. event
“Some were huge,” Erin said. She said the project gained the backing of the community and even his teachers, who brought him bears.
“It’s really inspiring that one thought of kindness grew into a community effort,” Erin said. “We ended up collecting 62 bears. Every time we turned around someone was giving him a bear. One act of kindness turned into community support.”
The family, which includes Adam, 7 and Jack, 12, made little each donated stuffed animal. The more than 60 stuffed animals, which had to be new due to health reasons, were donated to Fairview Hospital on Oct. 17.