Cindy Hoffmann-Domaradzki (left) stands beside her granddaughters, Harlow Druez, 3, and Makenzie Druez, 5, surrounded by the teddy bears they donated beside President of Henry Mayo Newhall Foundation Marlee Lauffer (right).
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Hundreds of young visitors to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will be comforted by a furry friend as the hospital hosts its annual April Teddy Bear and Friend Drive.

Since the program began five years ago, 3,686 stuffed animals have been donated to the hospital’s Emergency Department (ED). Since 2016, the ED has treated over 11,500 patients under 14 years old.

Hospital Volunteer Coordinator April Garcia said since the hospital does not have a pediatric unit, the drive serves as an important way to show young patients they are cared for. Some elderly patients have also gotten bears, Garcia said.

“We like to provide patients with an item of comfort,” Garcia said. “It’s our way of showing we care and a way to offer compassion. It has been a tremendous help to our patients.”

Cindy Hoffmann-Domaradzki and her granddaughters, Harlow Druez, 3, and Makenzie Druez, 5, kicked off the 2017 donation season by gifting several bags of teddy bears.

“I wanted to teach my granddaughters philanthropy at an early age and to show them the right way of doing things,” Hoffmann-Domaradzki said in a statement. “It’s important to give back to the community.”

Harlow Druez was recently a Henry Mayo Newhall patient herself and was gifted with a bear she named Captain Leo.

Hoffmann-Domaradzki and her husband bought the toys as a competition with her sister to see who would donate the most teddy bears.

The Golden Valley Kohl’s donated stuffed animals and books to Fair Oaks Ranch Community School, which in turn donated the items to the hospital.

“Every donation makes a difference to each child who receives a soft animal to hold and cuddle during a very stressful time,” Maria Strmsek, Director of Volunteer Services at Henry Mayo said in a statement.

For those who want to donate, a collection day event will be held on Saturday, April 29 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Camelot Moving and Storage on 28040 Industry Drive in Valencia. All stuffed animals must be new.

gender@signalscv.com
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On Twitter as @ginaender

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Gina Ender
Gina Ender is a journalist covering city government and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in February 2017.
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