JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Local firefighters from the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department made a surprise delivery to patients at Wolfson Children's Hospital on Monday.
The firefighters brought Build-A-Bears to children on the oncology floor of the hospital. The surprise was part of The Caden Project, which started in 2013 when a little boy named Caden spent a month in the hospital while undergoing a bone marrow transplant.
Christina Wood, Caden's mother and the creator of The Caden Project, says her son received a Build-A-Bear from a close family friend. They saw how much comfort and joy the bear brought, so they were inspired to start a non-profit to raise money building bears to give to as many kids as possible.
"We witnessed it firsthand, having been parents who had a child go through a bone-marrow transplant, and we spent a lot of time in these hospitals. We saw what they went through, what the parents go through, so it's almost like these bears bring comfort not only to the kids but also to the parents. It shows them that someone cares," said Wood.
She says she's thankful to the community who have supported the project and the firefighters who came out on Monday.
"The kids love it. Not just because they get a bear but because they get a bear from a firefighter." adds Wood.
Firefighters say not only is the delivery special to the kids, it has a greater meaning for the firefighters as well.
"Wolfson is special is to me and my daughter. My daughter has been through brain surgery so we spent a lot of time here. It's good to come back and give back to the kids … especially the ones who look up to the firefighters and the fire department. It's good to be here for them," firefighter Jimmy Renaud said.
Freddy Ortiz, another firefighter at the event, says it's great to be there for the kids.
"They look up to the firefighters so it's good to be here," he said.