Camp helps kids who’ve lost loved ones make new, huggable memories

BURR RIDGE -- At Camp Bear Hugs, there’s no doubting the amount of fun and the number of smiles in the hearts of the kids, but what makes the camp unique is its role in helping children cope with the loss of a loved one.

For five years, Advocate Hospice has held Camp Bear Hugs for the kids who’ve said goodbye to someone, usually a close family member.

Each kid carries a bear, hand cut and sewn by  volunteers out of  a piece of clothing that their loved one once had.  As each bear is brought to life, through the stuffing the kids put in, a new memory is formed.  The dozens of volunteers there see a transformation not only in the bears, but the kids who are dealing with a very grown up subject.

"It is hard and i think that’s why we do this is to come together and reassure each other that it’s just a part of life and everything happens for a reason," said volunteer Paul Padron.