When Campbell Remess was 9, he asked his mother to borrow her sewing machine. It was around Christmas time, and he wanted to bring presents to children in a local hospital. Like most 9 year-olds, he was short on cash, but he had a heartfelt, thrifty idea: he would simply make teddy bears to give to the young sick patients instead of buying them. Campbell’s mom was skeptical that he would actually follow through with the project, but she gave her son an enthusiastic “Knock yourself out!” Over two years later, Campbell is still making his unique comfort bears and sending them to children all over the world who are in need of a little extra TLC.
Image © Carol Rääbus for ABC Hobart
Campbell, who hand sews some of the details on each and every bear, is self-taught. When he couldn’t figure out how to sew using a traditional bear sewing pattern, he came up with his own. Campbell typically creates a bear each day in his spare time — he has also been known to whip up baby blankies to bring to the local NICU as well. This young Aussie has managed to secure fabric donations, stuffing, and other materials through a variety of charitable efforts (including auctioning off certain bears to admirers of his project) and by using his own pocket money. Many of the bears go to hospitals in Australia, but after terror attacks in Paris and Belgium, Campbell also sent his furry little bears on a trip across the world to give grieving children a comforting lovey to cuddle.
Although Campbell is typically the one in the spirit of giving, he was recently on the receiving end of kindness. Inspired by Campbell’s work, a woman who had been following Campbell’s story volunteered to raise funds for him, bought him a work bench and storage space for all of his fabric, and helped reconfigure his room to accommodate the new furniture while he was at school. Now Campbell can continue creating and crafting from his very own “teddy bear factory.”
Lead image via Project 365 by Campbell Facebook Page