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'He Still Loves His Bears': Boy Helped By Teddy Bear Patrol Ready To Give Back

DENVER (CBS4) - Ryker knows just how much comfort teddy bears can bring, Chocolate and Brownie became his best friends during a scary hospital stay in 2019. Now he and his family are giving back by donating to the Teddy Bear Patrol.

CBS4 has partnered with Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and KOSI 101.1 to collect new stuffed animals for children in emergency situations.

Ryker ended up in a medical emergency on Valentine's Day 2018 with a nosebleed. That turned into a diagnosis of a rare blood disorder and a fight for his life.

"He went into cardiac arrest during one of the tests," his mother, Andrea Van Meenen, told us in 2019.

But by his side for the ordeal, two stuffed bears. He was given one in the ambulance and the other at the hospital. Two bears, Brownie and Chocolate, who are still his treasured friends three years, two bears who are obviously much loved.

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Much Loved Bears (credit: CBS)

"He still loves his bears," Van Meenen said. "I think the symbol of them, three years later for him and for our family is comfort."

And the family wants to provide that comfort to others, prompting Van Meenen to reach out to family, friends and her horse community to donate.

It wasn't hard to convince them. "I think people are really excited to give something to a child directly. That's going to make such a difference in those scary times."

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Ryker's Family Collecting Bears (credit: CBS)

Among those bears set for donations, Ryker sees a pair who look like his own Brownie and Chocolate.

This Saturday we're collecting those donations of new stuffed animals at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. It's at 19th Avenue and High Street in Denver. Learn more about Teddy Bear Patrol.

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