Health Care and Nonprofits

Nonprofit delivers for pediatric patients

December 29, 2014
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Nonprofit delivers for pediatric patients
The Ella Bullis Foundation donates stuffed animals for pediatric patients at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Photo via

The pediatric patients at a hospital are each getting a new friend.

The children at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids will receive a new stuffed bear or dog from the Ella Bullis Foundation, according to a Mary Free Bed blog post last week.

Stuffed-animal shortage

The donation is a first from the foundation, but the gifting of bears is a long-time tradition at the hospital, and this year’s shipment came "just in time."

The 100 bears from the Grand Rapids-based Ella Bullis Foundation came in on Dec. 23.

Ron Bullis created the foundation in memory of his daughter who was born prematurely and lived for 18 days. He oversaw the delivery.

“I was down to just one bear,” says Linda Boyatt, inpatient office assistant, Mary Free Bed, in the post. “The bears are a fun thing, and they build camaraderie among the patients.”

The $1,500 used for the bears was raised at an event at the Kent County Conservation League.

Mary Free Bed says that normally, the Ella Bullis Foundation pays for expenses incurred by long hospital stays and has helped families in more than a dozen states.

“It is challenging and very rewarding work,” says Bullis, who also runs a financial services firm.

Stuffed animals

The stuffed animals are made by Michigan-based Bedside Healers and come with a strap, so they can be attached to a wheelchair, bed post or child’s wrist.

Each animal also comes with a fleece blanket made by the Mary Free Bed Junior Guild and a mylar balloon.

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