10-Year-Old Collecting Bears for Sick Kids

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AVON — A 10-year-old boy’s birthday request has turned into a holiday wish that could benefit hundreds of children in the area.

For his birthday this past fall, Ben Thorne asked that rather than buy him gifts, his friends and family purchase teddy bears to donate to young patients in Fairview Hospital.

Word spread, and he ended up with 62 bears, which had nearly run out at the hospital by Thanksgiving.

He expanded his idea for the holidays, and is looking for help collecting even more, this time for several area hospitals.

“Hospitals are pretty scary, and if it’s an emergency, you can’t bring favorite toy or blanket,” said Thorne. “But to have a teddy bear to cuddle on would make you not as worried.”

Ben has more than 70 bears already and plans to start passing them out in the next week.

He will collect the bears through Jan. 1. They must be brand new with the tags.

Here is a list of drop-off locations:
— Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt locations in Avon, Crocker Park, Lakewood and Rocky River
— Ed Tomko Chrysler Jeep-Dodge Ram, 33725 Walker Road in Avon Lake
— Kim’s Martial Arts School, 1180 Jaycox Road in Avon
— North Ridge Raquet Club, 5475 Mills Creek Lane, in North Ridgeville