Therapeutic Teddy Bear Program In CA Could Shut Down - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

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Therapeutic Teddy Bear Program In CA Could Shut Down

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A program that's brought comfort to thousands of grieving parents is in Jeopardy. Funding for therapeutic teddy bears has ended, but its creator is doing everything she can now to keep the program going.

Marcella Johnson's been giving out the comfort cub since 2001 when her newborn baby passed away.

"After he died, I had experienced obvious emotional pain, but I also got some surprising physical symptoms as well: my heart ached and my arms really hurt," Johnson recalled.

Johnson discovered it's not uncommon for women who lose babies to have arm pain sometimes. Furthermore, she discovered that carrying objects around helps, so she created a weighted teddy bear that is about as heavy as a newborn.

"It helps to alleviate that pain the moment you get one in your arms. For me, that's what happened when I held a weighted object in my arm: immediately the aching in my heart and in my arms went away."

Johnson has them made for hospitals across the USA and Canada. She was partnered with San Diego hospice and now she's hit a roadblock in funding

"Now, San Diego hospice has gone under and so I have to pick things up and start a business where I'm trying to sell these bears to other hospitals so that I can fund the program here in San Diego so that no woman in San Diego would ever have to pay for a bear after such a loss," she said.

Johnson desperately wants the program to continue, "so that we can serve our community here in San Diego that's the most important thing to me is to try to give back after such a great loss."

Continuing to bring comfort to the grieving is the most important element.

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