Media Contacts

Get in touch with the right contacts for all of our services.

View All Media Contacts »
View Media Guidelines (PDF) »

Furry Friends Bring Smiles to Patients at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children

Friday, Feb 18, 2011

Furry Friends Bring Smiles to Patients

l to r: Debbie Whiteside, Asst. Workshop Manager, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Christiana Mall; Ellen England, Mrs. Delaware United States 2010; MacKenzie Pincura, 9, and Jenna Willmott, 4.

Wilmington, DE — On Valentine’s Day, more than 200 stuffed animals were presented to the Endocrinology Department at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), in conjunction with Build-A-Bear Workshop, donated the furry friends in hopes of sharing hugs and putting a smile on the face of a child newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

“At Build-A-Bear Workshop, we believe in the philosophy of being good bears and good people giving back to the community,” said Debbie Whiteside, assistant workshop manager at Build-A-Bear Workshop at Christiana Mall. “We know that many of the children and families who visit our stores are impacted by juvenile diabetes. We are thrilled to partner with JDRF to make a difference in the lives of children.”

Four of the animals delivered were specially made by children with type 1 diabetes. “I know how scary it was for me when I was diagnosed in 2009,” said MacKenzie Pincura, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2009 and stayed for two days at duPont Hospital for Children. MacKenzie named her bear “Hope” and delivered to Jenna Willmott, who is currently a patient being treated for type 1 diabetes at duPont Hospital for Children.

“I gave ‘Hope’ to Jenna on Valentine’s Day because I wanted to tell her that everything is going to be okay and to remind her to never give up hope for a cure,” said MacKenzie.

“Learning that your child has type 1 diabetes is overwhelming for the entire family, especially the child,” said Kimberly Shoe, MSN, Insulin Pump and Diabetes Technology Coordinator at duPont Hospital for Children. “I remember as a child how important a stuffed animal was that I received in the hospital during my diabetes diagnosis. These bears and bunnies will really help our patients gain the confidence they need, and teach them where to turn when support is required. We thank Build-A-Bear Workshop and JDRF for this generous donation to the Diabetes Department at duPont Hospital for Children.”

According to the JDRF, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults — approximately 80 people per day — are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the United States. JDRF is dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes and removing the burdens and threats that the disease carries.

“JDRF is so grateful for the strong partnerships with both Build-A-Bear Workshop and duPont Hospital for Children,” said Amanda Foxman, JDRF Delaware Branch Manager. “This partnership will hopefully bring some sunshine to a child newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.”

About Nemours

Nemours is an internationally recognized children's health system that owns and operates the two free-standing children’s hospitals: the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., and Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Fla., along with outpatient facilities in five states, delivering pediatric primary, specialty and urgent care. Nemours also powers the world’s most-visited website for information on the health of children and teens,, and offers on-demand, online video patient visits through Nemours CareConnect. Nemours is a program dedicated to preventing reading failure in young children, grounded in Nemours’ understanding that child health and learning are inextricably linked, and that reading level is a strong predictor of adult health.

Established as The Nemours Foundation through the legacy and philanthropy of Alfred I. duPont, Nemours provides pediatric clinical care, research, education, advocacy and prevention programs to families in the communities it serves.