Alanna Burke Senior Project: Teddy Bears For Comfort

Alanna Burke Senior Project: Teddy Bears For Comfort

Jocelyn Reeder, Feature Editor

We all have fond memories of teddy bears, whether it’s was dragging them by the ear wherever we went or getting tucked into bed at night with them.  Alanna Burke decided to make teddy bears for her senior project. While many seniors went through countless ideas before settling on something, this was her first choice.

When I asked her what inspired her to make teddy bears, she replied, “I wanted to make them to help other people who have lost someone.” Alanna’s father passed away in 2012 from cancer, and ever since then she was inspired to help others handle grief.  She received a teddy bear made from her father’s clothes after he passed away. The idea was to create bears out of a color or material that reminded them of their lost loved one.

The materials she used were fabric and cotton. The cost of all of the materials she used to make the teddy bears was roughly $250 all together. Each bear took about 2-3 hours. Alanna created a GoFundMe account to receive donations to get her materials, though receiving the funding took 2-3 months, which was a slight setback.

Her first attempt did not go as planned. There are four different pieces that have to be sewn together with the pattern she used, but she accidentally sewed two of them together and made half of a bear. Another struggle she faced was getting the stitching right. You have to follow a four-piece pattern for making them and then you have to cut and sew all the pieces together. It is a long process, but the outcome is satisfying.

She made bears for a family friend who has breast cancer, cousin’s best friend who had a miscarriage, her cousin who lost a dog (she put the dog’s collar on the bear), cousin’s friend who lost her dad, and even made a bear for Red For Ed, though she still has fifteen more bears to make for others that have experienced loss. The best reaction Alanna got from giving a teddy bear to someone is they were crying from happiness,