PE boy, 12, visits hospital with more than 60 cuddly bear gifts
And Luke van der Nest, 12, is not yet done as his recent good deed has motivated him to continue to help others.
“They looked really happy when we gave them the teddy bears and I really want to do this again,” Luke said yesterday.
“I want them to feel happy, not sad because they are sick.”
Since the start of the year he has been collecting bears after playing the teddy bear machine at a cafe in Lorraine where he lives.
“Whenever I have a R2 I go to the shop to play. I would just go and catch teddy bears,” Luke said.
“I told my father that I wanted to give these teddies to sick kids and then we all went to the hospital.
“We put the teddies into party packs and we put some chocolate in for them as well.”
Luke, who will start Grade 6 at Herbert Hurd Primary School next month, said he wanted to be a paediatrician when he grows up.
Luke’s father, Andrew, 36, said he was extremely proud of Luke’s idea after he suggested donating his “winnings” to children in hospital.
“He has been playing for the past 13 months. He has been doing so well that I think he won around 120 teddy bears,” Andrew said.
“He then started handing them out to children of family members and friends. He would go to the shop DO you have a similar story? How are you inspiring Port Elizabeth?
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and play that machine empty.”
After hearing Luke’s idea he immediately started calling hospitals to find out how they could go about donating the teddies.
“I called and called but I got nowhere . . . I was referred to various people but got no response,” Andrew said.
“Eventually I decided that we would just show up with the teddy bears, so we went to Livingstone Hospital on Saturday.”
Dad dressed as Father Christmas while Luke’s mother dressed up as Mother Christmas.
Luke and his younger brother, Logan, 4, dressed up as elves.
“Security helped us immediately and we went up to P3 where there was a very long ward which was divided by windows.
“The matron saw us and told us to come in immediately and when the children saw us their faces were priceless. It was unbelievable to see how happy they were.”
Andrew said they had already divided the white and pink teddy bears from ones more suitable for boys and put them into pink and blue packets with chocolates.
He said Luke was excited about going to the hospital but he was a little overwhelmed when he saw how sick some of the children were.
“We handed out 53 and left 10 more for the matron to hand out to other children . . . But I am very proud of Luke and I know he wants to do more to help others now.”