December 26, 2016:    Select patients were treated to some holiday cheer at Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC) as the hospital’s healthcare foundation partnered with the city’s Bloomingdale’s department store to give out teddy bears as gifts of encouragement on December 22.

The Glendale News-Press reports that GAMC nurses were asked to help identify patients experiencing the most challenging circumstances and who, in some cases, did not have family visiting over the holidays.

“There is just something about that soft, cuddly teddy bear that is very comforting,” said Irene Bourdon, foundation president. “Last year, we had one patient who went to sleep every single night with that teddy bear.”

An anonymous donor started the annual tradition three years ago by donating the funds for 25 bears, with Bloomingdale’s matching the gift for a total of 55 bears that were given to patients.

“They are so emotional. Right away, they are so well that I think it even speeds up the healing process,” said nurse manager Tina Mkrtchyan about patients receiving the bears. “They are [more] in a mood [to take] medication, they are more happy and willing to continue with therapy. It has lots of positive impacts.”

Proceeds from bears purchased go to the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit that aids families of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders.