On January 26, fans donated stuffed animals at Mishawaka’s annual “Teddy Bear Toss”. Recently, Ron Hecklinski and the Cavemen basketball team delivered them to St. Joe Hospital. Marisol Girton from St. Joe Hospital said, “Getting free donations for our pediatrics patience is huge, especially if we can bring community involvement in. We see as many 3 kids to 6-7-8 7 kids up in our unit, and it makes a big difference to the nursing staff when we have a bear or a toy to give to a child. It allows them to have a little piece of home or a comfort item.”
Coach Hecklinski was proud to take his team with close to 100 donated stuffed animals. “I think it’s outstanding when you can combine sports with real life sometimes and the players have an understanding of what young kids go through in a hospital. Having a liver transplant, I know what it’s like to spend some time in a hospital. And I understand what putting a smile on someone’s face means.” Mishawaka Senior Grant Jablonski said, “For me it’s put life into perspective. When you think something is going bad for you, you can think about the children here who are really going through something difficult. It can make your day a little better.”
This is the 2nd year the Cavemen Basketball team has hosted a “Teddy Bear Toss”. Fans brought the stuffed animals to the game and then tossed them out at halftime. The gesture is all part of the “One Mishawaka” initiative started to encourage Cavemen athletes to give back to the community.