GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (August 18, 2016) – The William B. Wondergem Foundation for Children (d/b/a “Billy Bear Hug” or “BBH”) today announced a new partnership with Bronson Children’s Hospital in Kalamazoo. Through the new arrangement, BBH teddy bears and care packages will be distributed to patients of the 44-bed children’s hospital. This marks the first expansion for the West Michigan non-profit since its founding in 2011.
“These stuffed animals provide our young patients with ease and comfort during their hospitalization. We are grateful for the generosity of Billy Bear Hug as they help to enhance the stay for Bronson's pediatric patients,” said Liz Semaan, System Director of Development for Bronson Health Foundation.
“Billy Bear Hug has been an enjoyable organization to partner with. We feel very honored to be part of their mission and to provide quality bears to our patients at Bronson Children’s Hospital. Their efforts will bring smiles to many faces,” said Corey Richardson, Child Life Specialist at Bronson Children’s Hospital.
“The Billy Bear Hug Foundation has succeeded due to a wonderful support base, with which we are excited to expand through our latest partnership with Bronson. Bronson Children’s Hospital - an outstanding organization serving southwest Michigan and northern Indiana - and the Billy Bear Hug Foundation share similar goals and unwavering passion for supporting and serving our communities. This partnership will allow us to continue to deliver the "cure of comfort" to young patients for years to come. Everyone at BBH is grateful and excited to begin this journey together with Bronson to make such a positive difference,” said Matt French, BBH co-founder and board member.
About Billy Bear Hug
Since 2011, the Billy Bear Hug Foundation (BBH) has provided the "cure of comfort" to children with life-threatening illnesses in West Michigan. Through partnerships with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Hospice of Michigan, and most recently Bronson Children’s Hospital, BBH provides teddy bears, care packages, and other quality of life support to children. BBH was founded to honor the life of Billy Wondergem, an aspiring pediatric oncologist whose lifelong dream of helping children with life-threatening illnesses was cut short with his untimely death in 2010. While Billy is no longer with us, his legacy lives on through the work of BBH. Consistent with Billy’s approach to his anticipated medical career, Billy Bear Hug was founded with the belief that there is more to pediatric medicine than just the science, and aims to ensure that childhood illness is a journey no child or family ever faces alone.
About Bronson Children’s Hospital
As the only inpatient children’s hospital in southwest Michigan serving a nine county region, Bronson Children’s Hospital is committed to maintaining a full complement of pediatric specialists to treat seriously ill and injured children. Bronson’s teams provide the highest level of care and comfort in neonatal intensive care, pediatric surgery, neurology, oncology, cardiology and a range of other services so patients and families can receive excellent care close to home.