Thousands of people hope to reunite teddy bear with its family

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (WISH) — A mission is underway in central Indiana to return a lost teddy bear to its family, but this is no ordinary bear.

The remembrance bear was given to the family of an organ or tissue donor. The bear was found at the Walmart in Brownsburg and social media is trying to get it returned. When it’s squeezed there is a unique sound.

Travis Polen’s daughter Kimberly found a teddy bear in the parking lot.

“Kimberly saw it and she was worried about the teddy bear. We took it home and found out it was a special teddy bear,” said Polen.

When they squeezed it, they were surprised when they heard a heartbeat.

“That’s probably a sound for a baby ultrasound. Turns out it was an Indiana Donor teddy bear,” said Polen.

These kind of teddy bears are a keepsake for families of organ and tissue donors and are used as a way to honor their loved ones.

Travis said he realized the sentimental value of the bear and uploaded a Facebook post asking for help finding the family. The post has been shared more than 11,000 times.

Hoosiers near and far offered a helping hand and words of encouragement. Polen said this is an example of the power of the internet.

“I woke up the next day and my phone was going off. We shared it in a lot of different places. I had one that was 7,000 shares. People were sharing it left and right. Friends and family just are wanting to find the Teddy Bears owner,” said Polen.

One of those people lending a helping hand was Taylor Pesavento, who lives in Terre Haute. She came across the post after one of her friends shared it. Pasavento said it feels good to be a part of something so significant.

“I think it’s definitely something that warms my heart to be a part of. I can only imagine what those families are going through if it’s the heartbeat of a loved one. I would definitely want to keep that close to my heart as a keepsake,” said Pesavento.

Polen said getting the teddy bear out of lost and found and back into the arms of its family would be the perfect way to end the year.

“If we had a teddy bear like that we would look everywhere for it. It’s very important. I know it’s important for someone. I hope someone finds it,” said Polen.