A little boy with cancer is “over the moon” after been reunited with his lost teddy bear – all thanks to the kindness of strangers on social media.
Four-year-old Atticus has a terminal brain tumour and is currently undergoing radiotherapy. His teddy bear Boeuf is particularly special and has always been by Atticus’s side throughout treatment.
When Boeuf went missing after Atticus’s most recent hospital visit on Friday, the family were distraught. Their plight was shared on social media – and thousands of tweets and Facebook shares later, Boeuf the bear was miraculously found.
“I know social media can be a powerful tool but I was honestly blown away by the response we received,” Atticus’s mum Emily Feduchin-Pate told HuffPost UK. “It wasn’t just people sharing the post or tweets, it was the comments, the well wishes, the support, the love.”
Emily said complete strangers offered to buy a replacement bear, re-create Boeuf from a photo, and send something special to Atticus to cheer him up.
The ordeal began when Atticus and his parents went to UCLH to have his radiotherapy mask fitted. After the fitting, the family took a cab to Waterloo, then headed to some souvenir shops before having dinner at at Yo!Sushi. During this time, Boeuf the bear went missing.
“We initially told Atticus we’d left Boeuf in London and he was having an adventure,” the mum explained. “He was upset and cried for him at night, but we had a ‘spare’ new Boeuf that we gave him as a replacement.
“He was not impressed.”
Emily shared a Facebook status about the bear in desperation. “In a way, I think Blaize [her husband] and I were more upset than Atticus, because we thought we would have Boeuf to treasure after Atticus has gone,” she said.
Emily called around to try and find the bear, but didn’t have much luck. Thankfully, one woman named Sharon who saw the status decided to take matters into her own hands and called around some of the souvenir shops. “I believe she called about three or four souvenir shops around Waterloo Station before she reached Red Bus Souvenir shop,” the mum said.
“The staff confirmed they had found a brown bear with a bandage on its paw – Sharon kindly told them to hang on to him and that someone would collect him.”
Sharon contacted Atticus’s father Blaize on Facebook and on that same day, the little boy was reunited with his beloved bear.
“It’s an incredible thing to sit back and watch happen,” said Emily. “We know Atticus is special, and Boeuf is special to Atticus, but for a whole network of strangers to take our plea to heart and spend precious time helping us, it’s quite overwhelming.
“To say thank you doesn’t seem sufficient, but we are grateful to each and every person who helped in any way. Atticus is very fortunate; we all are.”
For more information about brain tumours or to donate money to research in this area, please visit The Brain Tumour Charity website.
HumanKind is HuffPost’s celebration of kindness, featuring people who do incredible things for others or the planet – transforming lives through small but significant acts. Get involved by joining us on Facebook or telling us about the people who you think deserve recognition for their kind works. You can nominate them here or share your personal story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.