The family of a boy born with liver and heart disease is fundraising to buy a life-sized bear sculpture dedicated to him.
Raising money for Leeds Hospitals Charity, the Leeds Bear Hunt is an annual trail around the city that took place over the last ten weeks and had locals and visitors alike seeking out giant bear sculptures.
There were 35 bears dotted around the city, including a very special one named Polar.
Polar shares the story of Freddie Mcdonald, aged 11, who has been cared for at Leeds Teaching Hospitals since being just six months old when he was diagnosed with Alagille syndrome.
The Ossett family are now hoping to buy the life-sized sculpture when they go up for auction, with Mrs Mdonald saying “I can’t see anyone valuing that bear like we would.”
The bear sculptures will be auctioned off on Thursday 28 September and money raised will be used to fund care for critically-ill babies and children at the trust.
The family have already raised a whopping £120,000 for the hospitals’ charity but said buying the bear also meant they could help others.
Get Freddie’ Bear 🐻❄🏼❤️
— Emma McDonald (@emmamacca1) September 14, 2023
Mrs McDonald said: “I say it all the time but it’s so true – the hospital saved Freddie’s life numerous times but every time they saved his life they saved ours as well.”
The family have put together a fundraising video, featuring supporters shouting ‘Get Freddie’s Bear’.
Included in the video are ex-Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow and family as well as Leeds United goalkeeper Illan Meslier, who are all behind Freddie’s campaign.
Paul Watkins, Director of Fundraising at Leeds Hospitals Charity, said the purchase of a bear would help “continue to support the hospital’s incredible efforts to provide exceptional treatment and care to hundreds of critically-ill babies and children every year.”
You can donate to the ‘Get Freddie’s Bear’ fundraiser here.
Featured image – Leeds Bear Hunt