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December 14th, 2009 | Author:

On Saturday, December 12 my parents and I finally finished tying donation tags on 1800 bears that we will be delivering to Rady Children’s Hospital on Friday, December 18.

What started out as a small fundraiser in August to raise enough money to buy 250 teddy bears for kids in the hospital for Christmas, exploded into a gigantic success!  27 very large bags and five boxes later, I never imagined it would have turned out this well.

There are so many people to thank for helping me make this possible.

  • My parents, Don and Nancy O’Neill, for EVERYTHING they do to always help me.
  • Catherine Garcia of KNSD TV in San Diego, California who interviewed me for their news the week of Thanksgiving. Because of the interview, MSN picked up my story and donations started flooding in from around the world.
  • Every person who donated money to help buy bears.  From $5 – $500, every dollar received was used to buy bears.  Including my own donation, the grand total received was $5,130 which bought 1800 bears.  A complete list of generous supporters can be found on my Pencil Bugs website.
  • Lisa Vinton and Darcy Jones of Only2Degrees in Temecula, California who made a few calls and found several people willing to donate a truck so that we could deliver the bears to the hospital.
  • Rachel Mason of Hemet Hospice in Hemet, California who donated their organization’s truck, driver, and time. Rachel was so excited to be a part of my Christmas project that she is even coming with us on delivery day.

One of the most fun parts for me was opening up box after box to see what type of bears we received.  We ordered an assortment of bears which made it interesting.  Each box was a surprise but the biggest surprise was when I opened a couple of the last dozen boxes.  We didn’t expect to receive Santa bears but we got about two dozen assorted Santas.  Then to top it off, there were three large yellow bears that looked a lot like Winnie the Pooh so I’m sure three kids will be very surprised and happy when they receive those bears.

After we had finished with the first two shipments of bears (1100 total) and had tied donation tags on each one, Mom put together a short video with highlights. Stay tuned for the video update after the big delivery.

December 05th, 2009 | Author:

When I started my charity project in August to give teddy bears to kids at Rady Children’s Hospital for Christmas this year, I was hoping I would raise enough money including my own to buy 250 bears.  Things were going pretty well.  By the beginning of November, I had raised enough to buy almost 400 bears.  I was pretty happy and I knew the hospital would be too.

My plan was to tie donation tags on every bear and put each person’s name who donated money to help.   At that time, 400 bears seems liked a lot to tie on individual tags, but since we would be delivering them on December 18, we still had plenty of time.

Then the week before Thanksgiving, my project exploded!  KNSD TV (NBC) in San Diego came to my house to interview me for their news.   I had pre-ordered 100 bears so they could see what the bears were like.   I had a great time.  The very next day,MSN.com picked up my story and before long, I was receiving donations from all over the country.   With just a little over a week left to donate, things were adding up quickly.

40 boxes of bearsOnce everything was calculated, the grand total was 1800 bears. So that our entire garage wasn’t completely filled with teddy bears all at once, we ordered 1000 bears. 40 large boxes arrived on Wednesday by UPS.  I think our UPS driver was more than a little surprised when he got the order to deliver to our house.  He actually called ahead of time to make sure someone would be home which Mom and Dad appreciated.  I was excused from a school field trip on Thursday so I could start unpacking, sorting, counting, and tagging the 1000 bears that arrived.

Tying donation tags on each one went a lot faster than we had expected.  Being organized ahead of time by printing the tags, punching holes in them, cutting pieces of yarn to tie them onto the bears, and even stringing them really helped the whole process.  Of course Mom and Dad helped a lot. Otherwise, I would still be tying on tags instead of writing this blog.

We finished everything in about 6 hours.  Once all the bears were tagged, we put them in large bags, ready for delivery.

It’s a good thing we don’t have a big family because we now have very large bags and boxes of teddy bears all over our house and we still have 700 more bears to do the whole process over again next weekend.

Thank you again to everyone who donated and supported my project.  Our coordinator at Rady was amazed when we called to tell her we had a few more than our original plan of 250.  All she could say was “WOW”!

Stay tuned for my post after we deliver them.  We’re still hoping for a rental company to donate the use of a small truck for delivery.  It should be a fun job loading all of the bags and boxes in the truck but even more fun unloading them at the hospital.

November 26th, 2009 | Author:

As many of you know, I’ve been working on a project since August to raise money to buy teddy bears for kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California.   My original goal was to give 250 bears to the kids for Christmas.   At the beginning of this week, I did an interview with KNSD TV (NBC) in San Diego.  After the news segment ran, MSN.com picked up the story and donations started pouring in.  Within a day, I had raised enough to buy 1700 bears!  I could hardly believe it.  Kids were donating $5 and $10, companies were donating larger amounts, and a group of three 8th grade students in Michigan donated their bake sale money.  But today, on Thanksgiving of all days, I received a special donation from three soldiers stationed in Iraq.  They read my story and decided to donate.  I was amazed but it meant even more when I received this email from one of the guys.  He gave his permission to share it on my blog.  It means a lot!

Remember to thank our military guys.


I am Staff Sergeant (name withheld for privacy reasons), curently serving in Iraq.  I saw an article about your donation of teddy bears to kids in the hospital and felt that in addition to a donation I should write you this email.



Hopefully you know already how incredible your achievments have been thus far.  The fact that you have chosen to give back to others less fortunate than yourself is what makes all of it truly extraordinary.  Your friends and family are no doubt proud of you beyond words.  I wanted you to know that others are proud of you as well.

I, as well as my fellow soldiers, are often asked why we are willing to do the things that we do.  While most everyone has a different answer, I believe I can speak for most when I say that one of the primary reasons is in order to protect the American way of life.  In this current age filled with people looking out only for themselves, or expecting things from their country that they have neither earned nor deserve, it is refreshing to see someone carving their own path while giving of themselves at the same time.

Many adults in your shoes would concentrate all of their effort into their profit margin without a thought for others less fortunate than themselves.  I can’t tell you how glad I and my teammates are to see that the American spirit is alive and well in our younger generation.  Please keep up the good work.  I will keep you and your family in my prayers.  My teammates and I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors.  Take care.


SSG (name withheld)