HOUSTON—The efforts of a Katy couple to “Pay it Forward” are really paying off as Bennett’s Bears brings smiles to hundreds of hospitalized children all over the area.
Brande and Randy Nester spent Monday racing up and down the halls of Texas Children’s Hospital to deliver hundreds of Build-A-Bears to children that may not get to go home for Christmas.
“We are going to grab 252,” Brande Nester said in the staging area, referring to the bears.
Last week Bennett’s Bears had nearly 400 bears to donate, and after being featured on the Pay It Forward segment, There are more than 800.
Brande Nester came up with the idea two years ago when her son was hospitalized and they did not know what was wrong or when they might get to go home.
Then two sisters gave Bennett a Build-A –Bear to brighten his spirits.
“When they left the room I started crying and looked at my husband and said, ‘I want to do this,’” she said.
That was two years ago when their son Bennett’s cancer was still a mystery and now the Nester’s know Texas Children’s Hospital in and out.
They’ve left more than their share of tears here so now they are leaving behind some other things, smiles and bears by the hundreds.
“We really appreciate every single person that comes by. It puts a smile on my baby,” said Janet Marquez, whose 6-year-old son Nathan is at the hospital.
Room after room, floor after floor, Bennett’s Bears arrive.
The inspiration for the project couldn’t be present because his chemotherapy day was last week.
“I know what these parents are feeling. I know what it is like to see your child in that bed and know that you are not going to get home for Christmas,” Brande Nester said.
So with Bennett’s Bears they pay it forward.
Kayla Williams daughter Addison is 16, and has been in the hospital for weeks.
“So there is a reason that they are going through what they are going through and to impact the rest of the kids that are here,” she said.
It is working, for the receivers and the givers too.
“The smiles that I have seen today, so far, are going to last me all year,” Brande Nester said.
She said her Bennett will back next month at Texas Children’s for more chemotherapy.
The response was so great that Bennett’s Bears was able to add Shriner’s Hospital for Children to its delivery schedule.
The charity is also adding a branch in Austin for next year.