Before Caley Trepac came to Rush University Medical Center last November to undergo brain surgery, a friend gave her a teddy bear. Trepac, who was 14 at the time, held the stuffed animal close throughout her weeklong stay at Rush. “It comforted me and made me feel loved,” she told a Chicago Tribune reporter.
While walking the halls of the pediatric intensive care unit during her recovery, Trepac saw children who also had serious medical conditions but who didn’t have their own doll to comfort them. As the first anniversary of her successful surgery on Nov. 5 approached, Trepac decided that she wanted to mark the occasion by collecting teddy bears and donating them to Rush to distribute to pediatric patients.
She succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. Earlier this month, the Plainfield resident and her family delivered more than 750 stuffed animals to Rush.
“I reached out to friends on Facebook, and word spread like crazy,” says Trepac’s mother, Wendy Frydrych-Trepac. Local businesses, the Plainfield Public Library, and even members of a rival high school volleyball team collected stuffed animals, and the family received financial donations to purchase additional dolls from as far as Massachusetts.