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Helping Children with Chronic Conditions, One Teddy Bear at a Time

BCMB students follow many paths. A recent graduate of BCMB, Allison Campbell, won a first-place prize at the 2021 Graves Business Plan Competition from the Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation in the Haslam College of Business for her business Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions.

 The goals of this program are to:

  1. Foster healthy psychological development in children who have experienced traumatic medical episodes by promoting compassion in the medical field
  2. Improve patient education by facilitating crucial age-appropriate conversations in health communication
  3. Circumvent the barriers caused by related stigmas that prevent these children from being comforted.

“I envision a world in which all patients feel safe and secure,” said Campbell, whose program does this by providing children with chronic conditions a uniquely designed teddy bear (FluffyFriendsTM) that has a secret pocket holding a symbol representing the child’s diagnosis.

 The inspiration for this idea came from the Teddy Bear Wellness Clinic activity at the Fantasy of Trees, which is East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s annual fundraising event. Her experiences working as a Children’s Miracle Network Ambassador and Teen Advisory Council member for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital led her to form this program to address the issues surrounding the adverse psychosocial effects of chronic illness and to support these children when they return home from the hospital to lessen the negative effects of lifelong illness on the child. She is currently working on prototyping the first FluffyFriendsTM and accompanying storybook and organizing a pilot research study to measure the impact of FluffyFriendsTM on the first recipients. To find out more about Fluffy Friends for Children with Chronic Conditions, visit their website at fluffyfriends3c.org.