DENVER (CBS4) – Donated teddy bears and stuffed animals lined the entryway and hallways of the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children on Saturday morning. It was all part of the Teddy Bear Patrol which helps children going through emergencies.
A simple nose bleed on Valentine’s Day 2018 turned into a fight to survive for young Ryker.
“Suddenly everything’s quickly going downhill,” Ryker Smeltzer’s mom, Andrea vanMeenen, said.
When his parents couldn’t get the nosebleed to stop, they took him to the hospital.
“He went into cardiac arrest during one of the tests,” she said. “He was taken into the pediatric ICU, then he went into cardiac arrest again. Things didn’t look good,”
Ryker was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that caused a simple nosebleed to become life-threatening.
He was given two stuffed bears, one in the ambulance, the other at the hospital and they stayed by his side during the whole ordeal.
“Brownie and Chocolate keep me safe. He makes me feel safe and Brownie and Chocolate were the best teddy bears ever,” said Ryker.
Ryker and his family returned to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children Saturday morning, but this time it wasn’t as a patient, it was to give back.
Ryker’s family and community filled up the back of their truck with bears to donate to the Teddy Bear Patrol drive.
They will go to first responders to give out to kids in a time of need.
“Everyone knows somebody that has a kid that’s been in a scary situation and I think it meant a lot to a lot of people on a personal level,” said Andrea.
For her, returning to the hospital was an emotional experience.
“I think this place is amazing for us, gave us Ryker’s life and just knowing that other kids who are going to be going through scary situations are going to benefit from all of these bears, it’s just so much emotion,” she said.
PHOTO GALLERY: 2019 Teddy Bear Patrol Drive