March 19, 2018, GLENWOOD SPRINGS, COLO – Watts Brooks is not your average 13-year-old. The aviation enthusiast recognized that when younger patients at Valley View Hospital need to be transported by helicopter to a larger facility, oftentimes their parents or guardians are not able to accompany them due to the availability of space on the Classic Air Medical helicopter.
Watts conceptualized the idea for Bear With Me, providing a teddy bear with a voice recorder to young patients being transported. Beyond children, Watt’s also envisions the bears being provided to adults during transport with messages from their children or the bears being left with children when an adult in their lives needs transport.
With the help of Valley View administrators, Watts first implemented the program in 2017. Out of the ten teddy bears originally purchased for the program, only three remain. The bears are embedded with voice recorders, allowing for short messages to be recorded and saved. The bears then provide a familiar voice for the patient to hear as they fly to the transport location.
“Living just a few blocks from the hospital I love the sound of the helicopter,” Watts explains. “I wanted a way for those kids being transported to not feel scared.”
Laurale Cross, Administrative Director for Valley View’s Emergency Department and Nursing Operations/Clinical Administration, loved the idea when she was first approached by Watts. “I was impressed with the concept and appreciated that a young member of our community would want to go out of his way to make sure that our patients felt comfortable. Having a family member separated by a medical condition is extremely difficult and the bears provide a tangible reminder of family love and support.”
“Bear With Me has meant a lot to me. It feels good to give back,” Watts says.
A fund has been set up by the Valley View Foundation for the purchase of additional Bear With Me bears for the program. Contact John Quinn at John.Quinn@vvh.org for additional information.
About Valley View Hospital Valley View Hospital was founded in Glenwood Springs in 1955 by a diverse group of people with a common goal: to bring healing to the Roaring Fork Valley. Today, Valley View has evolved to meet the changing healthcare needs of our community. It encompasses a broad spectrum of services including comprehensive cancer care, an interventional cardiology center and neurosurgical and orthopedics care. Valley View’s overall safety and care delivery has received national recognitions. Valley View has been recognized for performance excellence from Healthgrades, J.D. Power & Associates, Truven Health “Top 100 Hospital” and Consumer Reports. vvh.org.