Manistee Volunteer Donates 1,000th Handmade Bear


Jean Rouse with Teddy BearsA trip to the hospital can be a frightening experience for a child. For 12 years, Jean Rouse has been making that experience easier for young patients at Munson Healthcare Manistee Hospital. A long-time volunteer, Rouse has now crafted 1,000 bears for staff to give to children needing care. The soft, whimsical toys bring smiles to the faces of patients and staff alike.

“We are fortunate to have the stuffed animals to give to children to provide comfort and distraction during what’s often a very scary time for families,” said emergency department manager Debra Bowman. “We can’t thank Jean enough for the time and effort she puts into making the bears. Seeing a sick or injured child cheer up when they receive a bear makes our job of providing care easier.”

Rouse brings a batch of bears to Manistee Hospital every few months to be handed out by staff to children visiting the emergency, lab, or radiology departments. She chooses child-themed prints in a variety of colors, purchasing the bulk of the material and batting herself. She slips a sweet fabric note reading “we care” into each bear’s pocket.

Laboratory Aide Susie Fauz is greatly appreciative of Jean’s efforts. “Many times the simple act of hugging one of Jean’s special bears is all that is needed to make someone trust us in order to draw the blood or to forgive us for having to poke them to receive a blood sample,” she said. “We are all so thankful for Jean! My patients are happy to receive a bear that is made with obvious love.”