What do country music and teddy bears have in common? A connection that delivers hundreds of bears to sick children each year.
In December, the SIMOS Solutions team in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex joined Maddie Stelzer (pictured) in her mission to provide special bears for children at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, where she had been treated for club feet from birth through elementary school.
Now 18 and a freshman at Oklahoma City University, Stelzer met SIMOS Executive Director of Operations Teryna Scheile seven years ago through a family connection during the Beary Merry Christmas Drive. They shared a love of music and a love of singing. Scheile, who fronts the country band For Love & Country, inspired Stelzer to begin singing for patients at the hospital.
“Maddie has a beautiful voice and loves to sing,” Scheile said. “She wanted to cheer them up at the age and started singing for them.”
Around the same time, a sixth-grade class tasked her with completing a service project for school. Inspired by the special bear she named “Beary” that she received during time at the hospital as a two-year-old, she started the Beary Merry Christmas Drive to bring joy to the children in the hospital.
“She made it her mission to collect bears or donations for bears and has been going to sing and deliver them every December for the past seven years,” Scheile said.
But being in college 200 miles from home left little time to work on the project in 2020. So Scheile enlisted both her bandmates and her SIMOS teammates to help. Through both music and philanthropy, Scheile pulled together a team that helped keep Selzer’s dream alive. They promoted the drive through their shows and a fundraiser website.
“This year we received enough financial donations and teddy bear collections to deliver more than 500 bears to the children and patients of the hospital,” she said.
But the bear deliveries aren’t just for the holiday season. The groups collect bears and donations throughout the year. In 2020, they donated 1387 teddy bears to patients.
“It is our mission to continue to deliver a little smile and hope to children faced with these complications and instill confidence in them, in honor of Maddie and her success,” Scheile said.