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.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More people are signing up to become organ donors in Indiana, but the pandemic is making it harder for some to get on the list.
According to the federal government, you can’t be an organ donor if you have COVID-19.
Right now, 1,300 Hoosiers are waiting for an organ transplant and a new name is added to the list every 10 minutes. The Indiana Donor Network says coronavirus infections have impacted who can donate.
The state health department on Friday reported 63 more deaths, bringing Indiana’s COVID-19 death toll to 4,952. Also, an additional 6,912 Hoosiers have tested positive, bringing Indiana’s total number of people who have contracted the coronavirus to 282,311.
Eric Askew had to wait five years for a kidney transplant, until he got a call last week telling him a kidney was ready. He had
“To wait that long was nerve-racking. But it was worth the wait,” said Askew.
That wait ended last week when he received a life-saving call letting him know that his kidney was ready. He had the procedure the same day. He said his life has been forever changed.
Because of COVID-19, fewer people will be given the opportunity to make that decision to become a donor. Eric’s wife, Frankie, said it’s discouraging to think this could negatively impact people waiting for an organ.
“There could be so many other donors if they could just take the precautions and do what’s necessary. This is a journey for all of us. We don’t know how things will turn out. At the same time, you try to do everything you can within your power so that you can help someone and be there for someone who needs an organ,” said Askew.
The Indiana Donor Network said they’re having a record-breaking year. More Hoosiers are signing up to be organ donors than ever before.
As of today more than 4.2 million Hoosiers are registered donors. Askew said that is great news for people still waiting for that life-changing phone call.
“There are people looking for a kidney who want a kidney who can’t find a kidney. The second day of the transplant you start feeling different, you feel better. Really it’s a new hold on life,” Askew said.