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Girl collecting teddy bears for families in need

December 5, 2011
KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer , Salem News

LISBON -Zoie McCartney has always loved teddy bears and thinks every child should have one.

The 10-year-old former Lisbon resident has already begun an effort to get bears to families in need this Christmas.

On Christmas Eve she will be in Lisbon distributing donated teddy bears during the Lisbon Lions Club annual Clearing House.

She hopes enough teddy bears will be donated to accompany each food basket presented to families by the club. She said about 115 baskets were given out last year.

The bears will all sport a yellow ribbon in honor of her friend Olivia Coontz, 10, who was diagnosed with bone cancer over the summer.

Olivia fell while roller skating on the Greenway Trail and broke her arm, which is what led doctors to finding out she had bone cancer of her ulna.

She and Zoie are friends and attended Lions Club events over the years since their grandfathers are both Lions.

Although Zoie and her family moved to the Canfield area about two years ago she still wants to help out the Lisbon area, and has several relatives still living here, including her grandparents, Sharon and Rod Sechrist.

Sharon Sechrist said the teddy bear donation isn't the first time Zoie has given bears to others.

"If anybody in our family gets sick she gives them a teddy bear," she said.

Her mother, Lisa Blevins, said the bears have always had a special place in Zoie's heart, and that when she was younger she carried them all around their home.

Connecting with the Lions Club for the effort seemed like the right thing to do, she added.

"She has always said everyone should have a teddy bear. She wanted to find a way to help kids so she decided this was a way to go," she said.

Zoie said she has already received 12 donated bears for the event, and that monetary donations will go to Coontz.

Anyone wishing to donate a small or medium sized teddy bear or even a pillow pet should contact Lisa Blevins at 330-831-1957.



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