St. Francis patients gifted teddy bears by Columbus judge in 20-year tradition

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Children and adults in the Valley are getting their spirits lifted ahead of the Christmas weekend.

The Ronald McDonald House Christmas began 20 years ago by Recorder's Court Judge Michael Cielinski.

Judge Cielinski started the tradition of passing out bears to hospital patients after the physicians of St. Francis saved his daughter's life following a swimming accident.

Doctors say the bears can really brighten a patient's mood.

"We try to make sure that kids that come during the holiday season are taken care of and able to receive a teddy bear," said Dr. Mike Hagues. "We have been doing this for a number of years and it is very well-received."

While Judge Cielinski was unable to make it this year, local and state law enforcement officials were there to continue the tradition and pass out the bears.

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