Phoebe Sumter Hospice volunteers create beloved bears for patien - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Phoebe Sumter Hospice volunteers create beloved bears for patients and their families

Phoebe Sumter Hospice volunteer LaVern Johnson talks about beloved bears to (l-r) Phoebe Sumter Hospice nurses June Hagin, RN and Paula Hester and Paige Johnson, Lavern’s daughter and a Phoebe Sumter Hospice volunteer. Phoebe Sumter Hospice volunteer LaVern Johnson talks about beloved bears to (l-r) Phoebe Sumter Hospice nurses June Hagin, RN and Paula Hester and Paige Johnson, Lavern’s daughter and a Phoebe Sumter Hospice volunteer.
AMERICUS, GA (WTVM) -

Recently, a group of volunteers gathered at Phoebe Sumter Hospice to learn how to create "Beloved Bears".

This beginning class was taught by LaVern Johnson, volunteer and employee with Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital. 

"I wanted to do something meaningful and personal," said Johnson, who began making "beloved bears" five years ago.  She made her first bear in memory of her father-in-law.

"Phoebe Sumter Hospice heard of this caring project and wanted to become involved for our community," said Nyla Franklin, Phoebe Sumter Hospice Director.  "It was something we thought our patients and their family would like and they have been a hit since day one."

At the request of family members, these bears are constructed from the favorite clothing of someone who has died and are then presented back to the family. Each bear is uniquely individual. This program not only creates very personal and cherished bear for loved ones, but it is also a healing process for those who create the bear.

"Our care doesn't end with the patient; we follow the family for 12 months with our Chaplain, Wendy Peacock, and Social Worker, Belinda Bond," said Franklin.  "This is a new way our volunteers can also help support our families with the love by making this beloved memory bear."

For more information about "beloved bears", or if you would like to volunteer at Phoebe Sumter Hospice, please call 229-928-4000.

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