#50MoreBearHugs - 50 reasons to celebrate

The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba is marking its 50th anniversary, so here are 50 reasons to celebrate!

1) Since its inception in 1971, the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba has raised more than $150 million for sick and injured kids.

2) The Children’s Hospital Guild of Manitoba is an integral part of helping make sure kids at HSC Winnipeg Children’s continue to get the best care possible. There were five Guilds, until they amalgamated in 2010.The first Children’s Hospital Guild, the St. Agnes Guild, was formed in 1909 – the same year the first children’s hospital opened on Beaconsfield Street. The other Guilds included St. John’s Guild, Annie A. Bond Guild, McKinnon Guild, and Chown Guild. These amazing volunteers are still responsible for the Children’s Hospital Book Market, the Nearly New Shop, Sew-4-Kids and many more fundraising efforts.

3) The Children’s Hospital Book Market is the longest running fundraiser in support of sick and injured kids at HSC Children’s. In fact it predates the Foundation, having been founded in 1961. Since its inception the Book Market has raised more than $8M in support of child health care. We hope to celebrate soon, one book at a time, once it’s safe to gather again!

4) In 1987 more than 14,000 people attended the first ever Teddy Bears’ Picnic at Assiniboine Park. Over 2,000 kids and their stuffies saw experts at the Bear Ambulatory Surgical Hospital (B*A*S*H) Tent.

5) The Children’s Hospital Guilds have held many creative and long-standing fundraisers since the hospital opened in 1909. Some highlights include: Cocktails in the Park, Wear Your Bear, Bear Essentials Fashion Show, dances, garage sales, and many more.

6) The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba hosted the first Dr. Goodbear Golf Tournament in 1988 at Southwood Golf and Country Club. The tournament continues to this day! The 2021 edition takes place July 19 at Niakwa Golf Club.

7) The Nearly New Shop secondhand store has been around since 1953. The McKinnon Guild originally opened the shop on Osborne Street to sell merchandise donated by family and friends. It has moved several times, but is still run by Children’s Hospital Guild members. All proceeds from the thrift store are donated to helping sick and injured kids. The store, now located at 961 Portage Avenue, is also an important part of the community, providing quality items at affordable prices.

8) HSC Winnipeg Children’s was the first hospital in Canada to have a therapeutic clowning program. In 1986 Karen Ridd, also known as Robo the Clown, approached the Child Life department with the idea of using clowning to support kids in hospital. Karen had seen the positive impact Robo had on inner-city children and thought kids in hospital may benefit from a clown too. The Child Life team agreed, and together they started a program that continues to this day and has shaped therapeutic clowning across the world. The clown is an integral part of the Child Life team. The Foundation is proud to fund therapeutic clowning and Child Life programming!

9) While the Foundation has been around since 1971, the legacy of generosity and care of sick and injured kids began much earlier. The first Children’s Hospital in Manitoba was established in 1909 thanks to the dedication and vision of a young nurse named Annie A. Bond. Annie A. Bond moved to Winnipeg in 1903 and soon after recognized the need for a hospital just for children. She approached the local branch of the National Council of Women, they rallied some volunteers, funds were raised and the hospital opened on February 6, 1909.

10) When the Children’s Hospital first opened in 1909 it had just 15 beds. Now HSC Children’s Hospital has more than 150 beds and sees over 130,000 kids each year.

11) In 1909 the Children’s Hospital opened in a three-storey home on Beaconsfield Street. In 1911 the Children’s Hospital moved to a 100-bed, three storey building on Aberdeen Avenue. In 1956 Children’s Hospital moved to a 240-bed building on Bannatyne Avenue (currently the Yellow Deer zone). In 1973, Children’s became part of Health Sciences Centre. The “new” hospital (Blue Dr. Goodbear zone at 840 Sherbrook) opened in 1986.

12) Royalty has visited HSC Children’s several times! In 1984 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth dedicated the new Children’s Hospital building on Sherbrook Street. In 1970 Prince Philip visited the Children’s Hospital to celebrate its important work. And in 2008, Prince Edward helped mark the Centenary of the first Children’s Hospital.

13) The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba was originally formed under the name Children’s Hospital Research Foundation Inc. It got its current name in 1997.

14) The playrooms at Children’s Hospital are a highlight for many patients. The first Children’s Hospital playroom opened in 1948. The Foundation is proud to support the playrooms, raising funds to purchase toys, games and art supplies for kids in hospital to use and just be kids.

15) 100 years ago parents were not allowed to stay overnight with their hospitalized child and had very limited visiting hours. Children were often not told why they were in hospital and were not prepared psychologically for procedures. Now the Child Life team is dedicated to helping kids cope with all aspects of life in hospital. Their role is especially important with kids who are isolated because of their health conditions, or are from rural or remote communities.

16) The Child Life team opened The Book Corner Library in 1988 to provide patients with books, magazines and more. Access to these materials often lower the stress of hospitalization by providing patients, caregivers and families with choices, distraction, comfort and information. The Children’s Hospital Book Market supports this wonderland of reading adventures.

17) The Family Information Library opened in 1993. This provides resources to families to help them better understand a child’s condition.

18) Children’s Hospital Television (CHTV), the closed circuit TV station broadcasting to all patient rooms, was established in 1981. This was one of the first hospital-based TV stations in North America.

19) CHTV’s daily, live, interactive show Good Day Show is hosted by Noname the puppet, who loves pizza.

20) The very first Dr. Goodbear shirts were sold by nursing staff as a fundraiser for the early Children’s Hospital Miracle Telethons.

21) Dr. Goodbear became CHFM’s mascot in 1987. Building on the fact that Teddy Bears had long been associated with the Children’s Hospital, a board member came up with the concept.

22) Before Dr. Goodbear CHFM’s mascot was Edward Bear, who was unveiled at the 1984 Teddy Awards.

23) Dr. Goodbear once had a counterpart named Nurse Better Bear.

24) In 2001 the Foundation created its research arm, the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, which changed its name to the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) in 2015.

25) More than 270 internationally renowned researchers are working to understand childhood disease at CHRIM.

26) In October of 2008 the Children’s Hospital became the site of the world’s first experimental drug treatment for a child living with the genetic bone disease hypophosphatasia. Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg, a geneticist and researcher with Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, led this life-changing study. The first child to receive treatment was Baby Amy, who traveled with her family to Winnipeg from Ireland.

27) Research done at CHRIM has life-changing effects for children not only in Canada but across the world. For instance CHRIM researchers have been at the forefront of COVID-19 studies since the very start of the pandemic.

28) There are so many committed community members who put on fundraisers for CHFM and they didn’t let a pandemic stop them! In 2020 several in-person events switched gears and recreated themselves as virtual events. For example, the Pre-Seed Shinny Tournament became a virtual event and raised over $8,700. The BMO Bear’s Paw Golf Tournament went online and raised over $27,000.

29) Many people in our community love to celebrate their birthdays by giving back! Kids and adults often ask for donations instead of gifts and in 2020 over $10,000 was raised for sick and injured kids through birthdays alone.

30) Children’s Hospital has had many special guests over the years including: Fred Penner, Elmo, Mickey Mouse, Jane Seymour, Taylor Swift, Winnipeg Jets, Blue Bombers and many more.

31) More than 130,000 kids from across Manitoba, northwestern Ontario and Nunavut need the hospital every year. The Foundation helps provide funding for research, life-saving equipment and innovative programming so that kids can have the best possible hospital experience.

32) Dr. Goodbear masks, launched with Children’s Miracle Network partner Walmart in fall 2020, have raised more than $100,000 to support sick and injured kids in 2020 and 2021.

33) In 2021 Children’s Hospital Foundation and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs launched a Dr. Goodbear-Spirit Bear mask to be distributed to Indigenous children in First Nations communities across Manitoba, and for children using the Children’s Emergency department and clinics. The mask was designed with the colours of a First Nations medicine wheel and includes two bears: Jordan’s Principle Spirit Bear, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation Dr. Goodbear; both logos are symbols of strength, health, family and courage.

34) A refreshed Dr. Goodbear was introduced along with a new tagline, Let’s Make Anything Possible, in 2019.

35) Thanks to individuals and organizations across the province, a new Children’s Heart Centre was built and opened in March 2021. A new cardiac catheterization lab opened in early 2020, and a fluoroscopy lab will open later in 2021.

36) Donors provided the funding to purchase Canada’s first Zeiss microscope, which enables pediatric neurosurgeons to see around corners in the brain and perform highly intricate brain surgery on children with epilepsy.

37) Supporters of the foundation contribute the operating dollars of CHRIM, which leverages it into an average ROI of 5:1 (i.e. for every $1 the Foundation provides, the research teams raise $5 in grants and other funding).

38) Miracle Treat Day at DQ has been an annual sweet favourite. DQ franchises across Manitoba contribute proceeds from the sale of Blizzards during one month every year.

39) Dr. Goodbear loves to dress up. Limited edition bears include Golden Anniversary Goodbear, Space Dr. Goodbear, Aladdin-style Goodbear, and many more. These have become collectors’ items over the years. You can get some of these limited bears before they’re gone at goodlocal.ca.

40) In 2021 Erika Thorsteinson and Emma Tanchuk became the inaugural recipients of the Colleen Horbay HSC Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award, presented to youth volunteers at HSC Winnipeg. This scholarship honours Colleen Horbay, who was a passionate volunteer with a strong commitment to caring for kids.

41) Each year, a Champion Child is selected to represent the Foundation and Children’s Hospital in the community. The first champion child in Manitoba was Daniel for 1999 – 2000. The 2021 Champion is Brady.

42) All Champions work hard by attending speaking engagements throughout the year. In 2015-16 Logan raised the most of any Champion during his champion year, bringing in $25,000 for the PICU that saved his life. Abigail the 2017 Champion was awarded the provincial Youth in Philanthropy Award after several years of fundraising to support Children’s Hospital. Gianna, in 2019, attended over 40 events to speak on behalf of children who need the hospital.

43) Since 1986 the Foundation has been a proud member of Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). Through CMN’s corporate partners, their associates and customers, funds are raised for more than 170 children’s hospitals, including 14 across Canada. Donations stay local to support research, purchase lifesaving equipment, and fund programs that bring comfort to sick children and their families.

44) Many families and kids who have needed HSC Children’s Hospital continue to support the Foundation throughout their whole lives. For example 15-year-old Carson, who was born with transposition of the great arteries, has raised over $225,000 since he was just a toddler.

45) In 2020, the Foundation created the Indigenous Advisory Circle. This volunteer council supports the mandate of the Board of CHFM through the provision of information and meaningful advice, within an Indigenous perspective and worldview; allowing CHFM to build deep, meaningful and collaborative relationships with Indigenous leadership to improve the health of children, and at HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital through engagement, research, advocacy and fundraising.

46) The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba’s first Teddy Awards were presented in 1983 at a Champagne Brunch at the Holiday Inn Downtown. The first recipients were Dr. John Bowman and Dr. Grant Dominy.

47) 50,000 children each year need care at HSC Winnipeg Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

48) In August 2007, pediatric cardiologists at HSC Children’s performed a ground-breaking procedure to implant dissolvable devices in two heart patients, aged 10 and 16. These were the first patients in the world to receive this device.

49) HSC Children’s Hospital has a twin hospital in Tianjin, China: Tianjin’s Children’s Hospital. In 1990 a group from Winnipeg visited China to attend the signing ceremony.

50) Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric facility between London, Ontario and Saskatoon devoted to the special health care needs of children.