A CHANCE look at a story in Seniors Sunshine Coast Newspaper six years ago has led to an astounding 30,000 Care Bears, knitted beanies, berets and baby socks being donated to sick and injured children in hospitals in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and ambulance services at Kawana and Caloundra.
Last month another donation of some 200 bears plus 400 cuddly toys, blankets, outfits for premmie babies and library bags with colouring-in paper and pencils was received with grateful thanks by hospital staff at Brisbane Mater Mothers.
This selfless task of bringing comfort to sick children was started in 2009 by Eric Brusewitz (78) and wife Dawn Chalkley (75) who live in a retirement village in Kawana. While their work is still continuing, it has been greatly reduced because of ill-health and they are now appealing for help from volunteers.
Eric said the Care Bears were popular. "They are soft and cuddly and we try to have them in every ambulance on the Coast. As well as bringing comfort to sick and traumatised children, the Care Bears are also bringing joy to their makers.
"We have ladies who make up to 30 bears a month and they tell us, 'If it wasn't for this knitting, I'd fall asleep in front of the television all the time. Now we have something to do'," he said.
Dawn said that over the years there have been up to 150 volunteers they could call for help.
"Now we're down to 25 to 30, who live all over the Coast.
"Until very recently every two or three months we would drive about 300 km to pick up the volunteers' work.
"Because of our ill-health, that's been curtailed and as a result we have lost a lot of knitters."
Dawn said there were a number of ways to donate - cash donations, knitting or collecting the knitting.
Does she think that without new help, she and Eric will have to stop their valuable work?
"Not as long as we are alive. You only have to see joy on the nurses' faces when we go down to Lady Cilento and they've got these things to give to the kids."
For more information, call Dawn on 5493 2823.